Improve Your Gut Microbiome Today For The 4rs
There are a number of factors that contribute to the health of your gut microbiome, including your environment, the amount of exercise and sleep you get, and of course, stress. But the number one factor that determines what microbes live in your gut is your diet.
In Functional Medicine, there is a very successful protocol called the 4Rs, which stands for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. There are many resources for learning more about the 4 Rs. I like Raphael Kellman, M.D.s book, The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss.
The beautiful thing about the 4Rs protocol is that it doesnt have to be followed in order. Once you remove the processed foods and toxins from your diet, you can start doing all of the remaining 3 steps together. Unless you suffer from a serious digestive disorder or other condition, you can follow the 4Rs on your own. Or, find a practitioner who can tailor the protocol to your specific needs.
Here are my suggestions for following the 4Rs and improving your gut microbiome starting today:
Tips To Boost Your Gut Microbiome
Your gut microbiome is a vast community of trillions of bacteria and fungi that inhabit every nook and cranny of your gastrointestinal tract, and have a major influence on your metabolism, body weight, propensity to illness, immune system, appetite and mood. These microbes mostly live in your lower intestine and outnumber all the other cells in your body put together.
Conceptually, we should view these microbes as a newly discovered organ, weighing slightly more than our brains and nearly as vital. There are some organs we can live without, including our spleen, gall bladder, tonsils and appendix, but we wouldnt survive long without our gut microbes. Intriguingly, no two microbiomes are the same we are all unique. And more than ever, were finding out just how important these microbes are.
Read more about the microbiome:
According to research, the richer and more diverse the community of gut microbes are, the lower your risk of disease and allergies. This has been shown in animal tests and also in human studies comparing the microbes of people with and without particular diseases. Examples from recent work at Kings College London include studies of diabetes, obesity, allergy and inflammatory diseases like colitis and arthritis.
Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that babies born via caesarean section miss out on some of the microbes they would obtain through a vaginal birth, which may make them more vulnerable to allergies and asthma.
How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora
Probiotics can support a healthy microbiome. These foods and supplements contain live bacteria that can benefit our health.
The bacteria in your gut make up a very important ecosystem, and if this becomes upset, it can lead to abnormalities in its composition and diversity. There are many things in life which can have negative consequences on your gut bacteria and intestinal health.
Studies have shown that probiotics can help to restore gut bacteria to healthy levels which protects us from inflammation. Live fermented foods are great sources of natural probiotics that you can eat and drink. Researchers think these traditional foods may play an important role in human health.
|Cabbage and salt|
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Eat Your Fruits And Veggies
While all the different foods that make up your diet can influence the gut microbiome, it is the fiber the carbohydrates in our diet that we cannot break down ourselves but the bacteria in our gut can use readily that drives the formation of a healthy microbiome. Eating a diverse and abundant selection of fruits and veggies is a great way to feed some of the most health-promoting bacteria in our gut.
Restoring Gut Flora After Antibiotics
Antibiotics deplete many bacteria, not just the ones making you sick. Thats why they should only be used under the supervision of a doctor when you really need them.
Antibiotics are an essential means to target bacterial infections. The problem is, weve used them too much and antibiotic resistance is becoming a major problem. Your gut flora isnt keen on them either, and for good reason.
Studies show that antibiotics alter the composition of your gut biome in the long and short term. Thats why some doctors also prescribe a probiotic at the same time. If you do need them, make sure to top up your prebiotic fibre intake to nourish your good bugs, and get a microbiome test to see how you can help them recover.
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Direct Inhibition Of Pathogens
The gut flora community plays a direct role in defending against pathogens by fully colonising the space, making use of all available nutrients, and by secreting compounds that kill or inhibit unwelcome organisms that would compete for nutrients with it, these compounds are known as cytokines. Different strains of gut bacteria cause the production of different cytokines. Cytokines are chemical compounds produced by our immune system for initiating the inflammatory response against infections. Disruption of the gut flora allows competing organisms like Clostridium difficile to become established that otherwise are kept in abeyance.
Fermented Foods Are Gut
Fermented foods are another great source of probiotics. The crowd favourite is yogurt, however, if youre going to be eating a lot of yogurt, make sure that it is sugar-free! There are several other options that are a great source of good bacteria. Kombucha is becoming a very popular source of probiotics. You can also eat things like pickles, kimchee, and kefir to ensure that youre getting enough live cultures to keep your gut healthy and happy.
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The Gut Microbiota And Health
Most research on the human microbiota focuses on the microorganisms in the gut, as they are thought to influence health in various ways. It has been documented that people, who suffer from certain diseases have a microbiota that is different to that of healthy people, although in most cases it is impossible to say if the altered microbiota is a cause or a consequence of the disease. The patterns of a gut microbiota that are associated with health are, however, more difficult to define.6 The composition of the gut microbiota is highly variable even between healthy subjects. Researchers have found that even though the composition varies between individuals, different compositions can have similar functions . It has therefore been suggested that the function of the gut microbiota, rather than the composition, is more important for health.6
Give Your Gut A Rest From A Hard Days Work
Giving your body a break from digesting food could protect from metabolic diseases and restore gut health.
In fact, some beneficial bacteria, like Akkermansia muciniphila, actually enjoy a nice fast, and help strengthen the gut lining when they arent being fed by your food intake. Theres no need to be radical here, though, just lay off the midnight snacks and when you do eat, make sure you cram in wholesome plant-based carbs!
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The Link Between Your Gut Microbiome And Your Health
Learn about this emerging field of study and what steps you can take to keep your gut microbiome balanced.
In recent years, you may have heard digestive experts talk about the gut-brain connection or your gut health, but whats all the fuss about? Emerging research is shedding light on the inner workings of the gastrointestinal tract, called the gut microbiome, and how it can affect your whole body in ways that may not seem connected at all.
The gut microbiome includes bacteria, microorganisms, fungi, and viruses that are present in the gastrointestinal tract. It plays a role in absorption of key nutrients and minerals, says Jaquel Patterson, ND, MBA, a naturopathic doctor and medical director of Fairfield Family Health in Connecticut. The gut microbiome also plays a key role in good health and in disease progression.
Exercise In Your Gut Health Diet
Who knew that getting the heart pumping and the sweat pouring was good for the diversity of your microbiome? Well it is, and heres why.
Research has shown that individuals who lead a sedentary lifestyle have a less diverse microbiome. Therefore, its not just what you put into your body that counts, there are so many other lifestyle aspects involved in improving gut health.
But dont despair, there are simple things you can do about it. Athletes, for example, have a more diverse gut than nonathletes. But you dont need to be an Olympian to make a difference. Walking, jogging, and dancing all count, just aim for 150 minutes each week alongside some strength exercises. Trust us, your gut bacteria will love you for it.
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What Sorts Of Foods Compromise Your Microbiome
Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, co-founders and co-CEOs of organic meal delivery service Sakara Life, built their brand with the intention to deliver whole-food, plant-based options that promote a healthy mind-body connection through the gut. Although Tingle tells us Sakara Life doesn’t believe in vilifying foods per se, anything that doesn’t support the growth of good bacteriaprocessed foods that dehydrate the colon, therefore inviting harmful pathogens and sugar-loving bacteria to thriveshouldn’t make up the majority of your diet. Think alcohol, foods sweetened with artificial sugars, red meat, and saturated fats.
“The incredible thing about our bodies, is that the more you eat for your gut through high quality, diverse array of organic plants, the more your body can handle and acclimate to those days when French fries and dirty martinis are on the menu,” Tingle says. Remember, everything in moderation is key.
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On The Digestive System
Poor gut health affects overall health. It sets the stage for the development of several conditions related to the digestive tract. These conditions include Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns Disease, Celiac Disease, Colon Cancer, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These conditions often present with accompanying weight loss and abdominal pain.;
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Add Probiotic Foods Into Your Diet
What are probiotic foods? These are foods that contain microorganisms that have a health benefit. There are several different kinds of helpful microorganisms that are added to foods like yogurt, or are naturally found in other fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi that give them a health-promoting effect. Give one of these foods a try in the new year. You might be wondering if probiotic supplements are as beneficial as probiotic food. So far there isnt enough evidence to say that so stick with food.
Alcohol And Gut Health
Getting merry too often can have implications for your intestinal health, not just your head and your wallet.
Simply put, reducing your alcohol consumption is generally just good for your health, but the odd glass of red wine isnt so bad. It contains polyphenols, antioxidants that help protect you from inflammation and disease, and increase the abundance of beneficial bacteria. If you get red and blotchy when you drink, you might have alcohol intolerance.
TIP Find out if you’re predisposed to alcohol intolerance, gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance with the Atlas DNA Test.
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How Does It Affect Your Body
Humans have evolved to live with microbes for millions of years.
During this time, microbes have learned to play very important roles in the human body. In fact, without the gut microbiome, it would be very difficult to survive.
The gut microbiome begins to affect your body the moment you are born.
You are first exposed to microbes when you pass through your mothers birth canal. However, new evidence suggests that babies may come in contact with some microbes while inside the womb (
- 20 ).
Therefore, there are a number of different ways in which the gut microbiome can affect key bodily functions and influence your health.
The gut microbiome affects the body from birth and throughout life by controlling the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system and other bodily processes.
Artificial Sweeteners Are Not On The Healthy Gut Diet Plan
Sugar-free alternatives have been branded as a better option than sugar, but when it comes to your intestinal health, this isnt strictly true.
Artificial sweeteners may be a convenient replacement for those with a sweet tooth, but they may not be as beneficial as originally thought. Some studies have shown that they can actually increase blood sugar and increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Its easy to reach for a non-sugar sweetener, but if youre trying to lower your sugar intake, its worth considering reaching for a piece of fruit, some dark chocolate, or simply forgoing the syrup in your latte.
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Obesity And Metabolic Syndrome
The gut flora has also been implicated in obesity and metabolic syndrome due to the key role it plays in the digestive process; the Western pattern diet appears to drive and maintain changes in the gut flora that in turn change how much energy is derived from food and how that energy is used. One aspect of a healthy diet that is often lacking in the Western-pattern diet is fiber and other complex carbohydrates that a healthy gut flora require flourishing; changes to gut flora in response to a Western-pattern diet appear to increase the amount of energy generated by the gut flora which may contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome. There is also evidence that microbiota influence eating behaviours based on the preferences of the microbiota, which can lead to the host consuming more food eventually resulting in obesity. It has generally been observed that with higher gut microbiome diversity, the microbiota will spend energy and resources on competing with other microbiota and less on manipulating the host. The opposite is seen with lower gut microbiome diversity, and these microbiotas may work together to create host food cravings.
Just as gut flora can function in a feedback loop that can drive the development of obesity, there is evidence that restricting intake of calories can drive changes to the composition of the gut flora.
It Affects Gut Health
The microbiome can also affect gut health and may play a role in intestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (
A healthy gut microbiome controls gut health by communicating with the intestinal cells, digesting certain foods and preventing disease-causing bacteria from sticking to the intestinal walls.
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How To Maintain A Healthy Microbiome For Happier Hormones
New research;shows that unless we make a conscious effort, we in the Western world cannot maintain a healthy gut. The mainstream lifestyle works against our microbiome with what we generally eat and how we live. We have to decide to take control of our own health and make the right choices.
There are Flo-fixes that will support healthy gut flora. Here are my Do’s and Don’ts:
The Pill Damages Your Microbiome as much As Antibiotics!
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! ;You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
Eat Your Veggies Your Gut Will Thank You
The gut microbiota mostly feeds on a variety of dietary fibre left over from the food we eat, which is typically derived from the tough parts of plants that our bodies lack the enzymes to digest.
Its the very same fibre from things such as fruits and vegetables that nutritionists and parents everywhere have been telling people for years to eat because its good for them. It turns out this fibre is also vital for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, ensuring the community of bacteria stays robust and balanced in its relationship with our bodies, says Reimer.
We have a mutualistic relationship with many of these bacteria there is a benefit to both sides, she says. Bacteria get fibre from us, which is their main fuel source, and in turn they help keep our intestinal system and immune system functioning properly.
Studies have not only shown that people likely derive much of their gut microbiomes from their mothers in infancy, the results of unhealthy diets have been shown in mice to be handed down as many as four generations, says Reimer. Parents eating a low fibre diet passed on fewer healthy bacteria to their offspring, eventually putting many of these good bacteria at risk of becoming extinct by the fourth generation, she says.
We have a mutualistic relationship with many of these bacteria.
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