When it comes to bacteria, the majority of people including myself tend to shy away from it as we perceived them as bad. Additionally, no one wants to talk about “poops” basically when we talk about the gut, we’re literally talking our digestive system.
However, recent studies found that not all bacteria in our gut are bad. In fact, the majority of the gut bacteria that lives in our digestive system are beneficial to our health helping the digestive system extract nutrients from the food we eat.
These bacteria are the good ones, which often we heard as probiotics, and if you drink yogurt, you’ve heard for sure. I became interested in the gut bacteria topic when I stumbled on an article on gut profiling.
It’s interesting because it was talking about how the gut bacteria can hugely influence the person’s health including weight loss and other numerous diseases that a person experience if the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut are disturbed. This is when the bad bacteria are more dominant that good ones.
Experts have determined that if we eat bad foods, we’re feeding the bad bacteria; and on the contrary, if we eat good foods, we’re supporting the good bacteria in the gut. Eating healthy and well-diversified diet is a the key to supporting the good bacteria in our gut.
On the other hand, eating highly processed foods, particularly those from fast foods that lack fiber contents kill the good bacteria and feed the bad ones.
McMaster University reported recently about a link between depression and intestinal bacteria. This is the first study to explore the role of intestinal bacteria or gut microbiome in its altered behavior as a result of stress.
We have shown for the first time in an established mouse model of anxiety and depression that bacteria play a crucial role in inducing this abnormal behavior. But it’s not only bacteria, it’s the altered bi-directional communication between the stressed host — mice subjected to early life stress — and its microbiota, that leads to anxiety and depression. -Premysl Bercik, senior author of the paper and an associate professor of medicine at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine as reported in the ScienceDaily.
David Perlmutter, M.D wrote an article that nurturing our gut bacteria can help improve our mood. He also recommended eating fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and pickles as well as foods rich in prebiotics dietary fibers like onions, garlic, asparagus, etc.
Dr. Perlmutter was also interviewed by Dr. Mercola to expand this topic.
While researching about the significance of this gut microbiome, I came across with documentary presented by Dr. Graham Philips on ABC’s Catalyst. The documentary is a two-parts series that covers pretty much all of the necessary information about our gut system.
One interesting I’ve learned from this documentary, no matter how lean and appear to be physically fit a person, he/she can still be at risk of developing diabetes when eating highly processed foods.
On the other hand, according to one expert in the documentary, altering one’s eating habits and shifting to consuming whole foods that contain high dietary fiber, it takes just days for the gut microbiome to flourish again and start making positive changes in our body and eventually long-term health.
Gut Reaction Part-1
Gut Reaction Part-2
The Gut Brain Axis
Who would think the gut has a connection to the brain? One of the leading experts working on autoimmune and complex neurological disorders, and chronic illnesses with non-pharmaceutical applications is Dr. Datis Kharrazian.
Dr. Datis Kharrazian shares this fascinating connection between gut and brain connection known as the “Gut-Brain Axis”. I encourage you to watch his interview in the video below as there is a lot to learn about the gut and brain connection.
He talked about the vagus nerve on how it sends a signal to the gut for it to properly moving. Although, lots of the term he mentioned are too technical for us, he explains what they do. But, certainly, you’ll learn a lot including diet and supplements for the brain.
Interestingly, he mentioned supplementations that really are just natural herbs turmeric and resveratrol on how helpful they are when it comes to brain health. He also shared a trick as simple as doing gargle to activate a part of the brain responsible of sending signals to the gut via the vagus nerve. Now, I think you will agree that the gut is the second brain. No wonder we sometimes say to trust our gut.
Immune System and Gut Bacteria
In one press released back in April by the University of Chicago shows immune cells help the gut’s good bacteria successfully triumph over the bad ones.
Our study reveals how our body’s immune system shapes the gut microbiota to naturally limit infections. Given the rapid rise of harmful bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, it is paramount that scientists find methods of limiting harmful bacterial infections without the use of antibiotics.
For future patients who are infected with harmful bacteria, it might be beneficial to promote the development of good gut microbiota to indirectly kill harmful bacteria, instead of using antibiotics. -Yang-Xin Fu, senior author of the study and professor at the University of Chicago Department of Pathology.
What Do These Experts Telling Us
I think it’s common sense to understand what these experts are telling us. They’re telling us that the gut bacteria or microbiome that live inside our digestive system is vital to our health and well-being. It is said that we humans carry over 100 trillion microorganisms within our digestive system. This number is said to be ten-folds greater compared to the number of cells in the entire human body.
Think about that! According to Bruce Lipton (watch his presentation here), we humans are made of communities of bacteria where each community has a specific function such as repairing damage tissues, creating and fighting infections. The good news is that, although these bacteria are so vast in numbers, it’s so simple to feed them. They thrive if we eat healthy whole foods.
If you’re someone experiencing some sort of illness at this time and conventional medication doesn’t seem to work, or if it works you reap the consequences of its side effects, it maybe your body is telling you to try something sending you a message that the gut bacteria in your digestive system is badly disturbed.
Try looking at your diet, and if you’re eating highly processed foods, switch to eating whole foods. Take back control of your health. Nurture your gut bacteria for better health.
Being Sociable Improves Gut Health
According to one study published at Science Advances, that being sociable promotes the transference of pathogenic microorganisms among hosts. The study was conducted on Chimpanzees, but the findings are interesting and promising that researchers are planning of doing it on humans, too.
Now, before the researchers conduct studies on humans, I think we can predict it is somewhat factual to some degree. The reason being when individuals socialized especially with the people who are trustworthy and very comfortable with each other, it brings happiness to a higher level. Research suggest that happiness and joy.
Nature published an article in 2013 Immunology: The Pursuit of Happiness in which one biologist found the evidence that positive emotions can override the biological effects of adversity.
Green Leafy Veggies For Gut Health
One study published at Nature Chemical Biology where researchers made an important discovery about eating leafy green veggies can have huge benefits for gut health.
A team of researchers from Australia and the U.K. found green leafy vegetables contain an unusual sugar which the beneficial bacteria feed on to help them flourish and outnumbered bad bacteria. The sugar is called sulfoquinovose, which is produced in green leaves through photosynthesis, a process in which plants make their food for energy.
According to Dr. Goddard-Borge, lead author of the study from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute;
Every time we eat leafy green vegetables we consume significant amounts of SQ sugars, which are used as an energy source by good gut bacteria.
The recent finding by the researchers is pretty interesting as it somewhat matches to a previous study done for a BBC documentary. In episode 1 of “The Truth About Food” documentary series entitled “How To Be Healthy“, they found that those who ate green vegetables and other foods containing prebiotics have significant impact on the increased of their gut’s beneficial bacteria compared to those who consumed yogurt.
On the other hand, it has also been observed that long-term consumption of foods containing probiotics like yogurt can also lead to a substantial increase of beneficial gut bacteria.
One thing to avoid in order to nurture the gut bacteria is to avoid eating a high amount of added and refined sugar according to a study conducted by researchers at OSU(Oregon State University).
Therefore, give more weight to consuming whole foods particularly green leafy vegetables, fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, kimchi and among others. Normally, foods high in dietary fibers are the best choices.
Initially, if this is your first time you’ve read and hear all these stuff, it’s sort of difficult to avoid the foods you love. However, it’s your choice to take charge of your health by opting and consuming organic whole foods and enjoy the benefits, or continue with unhealthy habits and eating highly processed foods with a high amount added sugar and face the consequences.
The good news, you don’t have to remove all your processed foods at once, but gradually while continuously seeking healthy and clean substitutes or swaps. If you starting finding healthy and clean food swaps, you’ll be surprised there are a lot available if you just look for it.
Yes, it may add some time when it comes to preparation, but it’s worth it. Plus, as you persistently fit in a clean and healthy eating, as well as healthy lifestyle shift, it will become more of a habit that is easy to do.
In fact, it will become effortless as it becomes a part of your life. Plus, you can be sure you can have something good to expect when it comes to good health. Of course, a regular physical activity is another important factor for staying healthy and lean.
One study found evidence for a beneficial influence of exercise towards the diversity of the gut microbiome.
Another study published just recently at Science found evidence that immaturity of the gut microbiota can lead to malnutrition in children. However, if we feed our children with the right foods that nurture the gut beneficial bacteria, there’s a good chance we can prevent malnutrition.
This is not the first study to linked gut bacteria immaturity to children malnutrition, there was also one previous study conducted in Bangladesh that found similar evidence.
So, eat whole foods preferably organic, and you may take the right supplementation, as well in order to feed your gut-beneficial bacteria that eventually keep you healthy by boosting your immune system. Let us keep in mind what Hippocrates said, all diseases begin in the gut.
Coffee and Wine Are Gut-Friendly
According to a press release for the newly published study at Science researchers find that not only the consumption of buttermilk or yogurt can lead to a more diversity of the good bugs in the gut, but also regular consumption of coffee and wine. On the other hand, a high-calorie diet and whole milk seem to kill the good bugs as it decreases the diversity.
In the end, make sure you drink coffee that is sugar-free, which is ideal. If you’re concern about the acidity, try cold brewing when preparing the coffee as it helps reduce the acidity dramatically.
You can also add the good stuff like healthy fats including unsalted butter from grass-fed beef, and coconut oil to make the coffee not just delicious but a lot healthier and nourishing.