Bio-diversity is essential for human health and evolution!
Even though I can’t prove it, I believe more than 99% of all human diseases can be prevented or managed by nourishing the gut. My personal mission is to help your microbiome become more robust, diverse, and balanced. It will make your life way better and it will also have beneficial consequences for the collective human microbiome (another way of saying our collective health as a species).
Benefits of Diverse Gut Microbiome
Shreiner et. al provide us with an overview of the evidence to show that a healthy microbiome supports the following:
- Healthy metabolism, absorption of nutrients, and ability to inhibit tumor growth, particularly in the colon.
- Microbiota promote immune homeostasis and, “influences immune functions at all levels from the initial innate defense to complex acquired responses.“
- Use of antiobiotics are associated with increased cardiovascular risk factors. (Measured through plasma TMAO levels or trimethylamine-N-oxide)
- “Clostridum difficile is a disease that results from critical changes to the gut microbiota and is effectively treated by microbiota-based therapy.”
- Inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease is related to a lower microbial diversity and a dysbiosis or imbalance of the gut. Treatment by professionals may be focused on increasing the diversity and richness of beneficial micriobial species in the gut and biome.
Good news: The Gut has some plasticity.
By eating a diversity of healthy foods, you will get an abundance of antioxidants, fiber, and other ancient plant wisdom.
“The quality of being easily shaped or molded.”
“The adaptability of an organism to changes in its environment or differences between its various habitats.”
The not so good news: the older you are, the harder it will be.
Why it is harder for people who are older? It is not about your numerical age. It has to do with the fact that years of consuming high glycemic foods that have been stripped of fiber, antioxidants, and other vital essences have allowed undesirable bacteria species to overpopulate.
Furthermore, many people who grew up on cereal and processed foods are going to struggle more to reach their fitness goals later on in life. It’s not fair, at all. There is hope though, so read on.
Undesirable bacteria become squatters that you can’t evict. Once upon a time, they contributed something of value to your system, but now they are leeching nutrients from you and not giving you much back in return. Biologically, these bacteria create bio-films that protect their opportunistic environment inside your gut.
You can degrade these bio-films over time with herbs, enzymes, fermented foods and more (note: Amazon affiliate links). I’ll be covering this in depth in future posts as well.
Here are some general tips to think about when looking to enrich or improve the diversity of your microbiome.
For the pursuit of microbiome enrichment, you may consume the following:
1. Fruit from a tree that is tasty
2. Leaves from a plant that is hardy (kale).
3. Fungi from a birch tree (chaga)
4. Roots that also grow edible leaves (carrots, beets, etc.)
5. Red color leaves (chard), purple color leaves (purple kale), green color leaves (cabbage), and so on.
6. Nuts from a tree
7. Leaves that have been cultured (sauerkraut)
8. Dairy that has been cultured (Kefir, see my kefir post. I’ll be writing an extensive Kefir guide coming up because it is that important).
9. Fruit from trees that is fatty (avocado, olives)
10. Selections from the allium genus (onions, garlic, shallots, chives)
11. Herbs / foods that make you hot or sweaty (peppers)
This should at least be enough to get you started and stimulated with some nutritional ideas.
It is important to note that one size does not fit all with nutrition. You are diverse, therefore you must learn what is best for you.
You can have guidance from practitioners who can support you in this journey. You can also learn from testing and experimenting — be mindful and honest about how your food is affecting you in order to make progress this way.
Stay tuned for more updates!
We’ve had an exciting time around here with a solid one post per day for three days straight! Let’s keep up the momentum.
The people who need us will find us, as long as we keep publishing. I hope you revisit here and join this growing community.
I invoke the powers of will to serve you in your fitness journey.
Heiman ML, Greenway FL. A healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is dependent on dietary diversity. Mol Metab. 2016;5(5):317‐320. Published 2016 Mar 5. doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2016.02.005
Davis CD. The Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Obesity. Nutr Today. 2016;51(4):167‐174. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000167
Shreiner AB, Kao JY, Young VB. The gut microbiome in health and in disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015;31(1):69‐75. doi:10.1097/MOG.0000000000000139