What Is The Microbiome & What Foods Support Your Gut Health?
Bacteria aren't all bad — in fact, the billions of bacteria in your body outnumber your cells!
These bacteria play critical roles in regulating health and disease. If health is wealth, then happy gut bacteria provide the currency.
With that in mind, it's all the more important to focus on your gut health and a positive microbiome if you want to optimize your health. This article covers the basics of a healthy microbiome and the best foods that promote gut health.
I have a gut feeling you will enjoy this quick read.
What Is The Microbiome?
Your microbiome refers to the bacteria that live in, on, and around your body. The microbiome can play positive and negative roles depending on the types of bacteria present. Having the right bacteria in the right place is crucial. In fact, in order to talk about your health, some experts think that it’s just as important to talk about the health of the bacteria living inside you.
Of your entire body, the microbiome in your digestive tract gets the most attention. These bacteria interact with your immune system and send signals to your brain, your heart, and others to regulate inflammation and everyday processes.Generally speaking, scientists divide bacteria into two broad categories: Firmicutes and Bacteroides. Maybe that’s too much technical information, yet at Resync, we always want to provide you with vital information about the discussed subject, and then you can decide what interests you the most.
Studies show that the balance of these two bacteria determines whether your microbiome is generally healthy or unhealthy. And Firmicutes bacteria are typically part of a healthy microbiome, whereas Bacteroides are associated with various diseases, and that’s the ones we want to stay away from.
Benefits Of a Healthy Microbiome
A healthy microbiome is associated with more than just gut health.
You may have heard about the gut-brain axis, where signals from your GI system relay messages to your brain like food cravings and anti-inflammatory signals. There’s also a gut-heart axis, which links your metabolism and overall heart health.
Here's a list of conditions that have been shown in research studies to be impacted by your gut microbiome:
• Heart disease
• Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions
• Gut diseases like inflammatory bowel disease
• Neurological disorders like autism
• Autoimmune conditions
• Obesity and unhealthy weight gain
To give you a sense of the diverse roles your microbiome plays, it can change how your body responds to prescription drugs, how you recover after surgery, and how well your immune system can respond to an infection.It only makes sense that for a healthy gut, you need a healthy cardiovascular system; for a healthy heart, you need a healthy GI system. No one system works independently, so you have to take a holistic approach that integrates your entire health, including your microbiome, to get to the root of your health.
How To Promote Gut Health
With so many roles for the microbiome, you probably want to ensure that you're doing the right things for a healthy gut.
The newest research looks at the role of microbiome transplants however you don't need a medical procedure to promote gut health. Instead, you can optimize your microbiome by feeding it the right foods, which leads to optimizing your health.
The most important thing for gut health Is getting enough prebiotics. I cover these in-depth in another article, "Best Ways to Drink Your Prebiotics", but I'll give you a quick rundown here.
Prebiotics are any sort of fibers and plant-based compounds that your gut bacteria crave. Your body is not able to digest these prebiotics, but your gut bacteria can. They break these compounds down into anti-inflammatory molecules that are responsible for all those beneficial effects.
If you want to learn the best places to get your fiber, check this article out: "The Ultimate Guide of the Highest Foods and Drinks in Fiber".
In addition to providing the foods that foster a healthy microbiome, you can also include probiotics in your diet to directly refresh the supply of healthy bacteria.
For more on how to get probiotics in your diet and the health benefits of probiotics, take a look at this article: "Best probiotic drinks For a healthy gut."
Besides what you eat, your lifestyle affects your microbiome.
For example, endurance training can create specific changes to your microbiome that allow better inflammatory regulation and energy usage. On the flip side, being sedentary can increase the ratio of unhealthy bacteria. And last but not least, your emotions can affect your gut health and vice versa!
Best Foods For Gut Health
The foods that support a healthy gut are the same ones that foster a healthy microbiome. You can't have one without the other.
That said, you can also support your gut health with a few additional foods. Antioxidants that help manage inflammation and the nutritional building blocks of your gut cells are two examples.
Here are some of my go-to foods for optimal gut health:
Fiber + Prebiotics
As I mentioned, fiber is the most critical thing for optimizing your gut health. Unfortunately, with most Americans eating less than half of the daily fiber recommended by the USDA, no wonder we have such poor health in the U.S. According to the USDA, aim for 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily.
The highest fiber foods are vegetables (especially green and red leafy veggies), low sugar fruits (like berries), beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Always choose whole grains over refined white carbs to boost the fiber in your diet. Also, look for the prebiotics inulin, and beta-glucan in your nutraceutical products for gut support.
Probiotics + Fermented Foods
Probiotics help to shift the balance of bacteria in your gut to the healthy side. By eating probiotics and fermented foods regularly, you populate your gut bacteria with these healthy bugs.
Some common fermented foods include yogurt (choose the unflavored varieties for their low sugar content), kefir, kombucha (watch for the sugar content!), apple cider vinegar raw sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh.
Basic research suggests that collagen protein can help decrease gut permeability, AKA “leaky gut”. Your gut, immune, and heart health are all impaired when your digestive system has leaks in it’s collagen-based barrier, the basement membrane. Hundreds of people report positive effects of taking a collagen supplement for gut health, and scientific research is starting to confirm this.
Green and red leafy vegetables provide significant amounts of fiber, in addition to antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that are essential for gut health.
One nutrient, in particular, plant-based nitrates, are converted by your mouth and gut bacteria into nitrites. Next, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a universally powerful molecule that improves immune health, regulates inflammation, facilitates gut motility, opens up blood vessels to allow nutrients to flow, and a wealth of other beneficial effects.
Check out my article on "6 Health Benefits of Nitric Oxide from Natural Nitrates" for more beneficial effects of plant-based nitrates.
Besides being another significant source of fiber, berries provide unique antioxidants that cannot be found anywhere else. These antioxidants are broadly called polyphenols, and they play a critical role in regulating your antioxidant system. Some polyphenols have been shown to increase anti-inflammatory compounds to restore function to a leaky gut.
Some of the most concentrated antioxidant sources are aronia berry (“chokecherry”), black raspberry, elderberry, wild blueberries, and acai berries. Aronia berries in particular are a source of vitamin C, plant-based nitrates, and polyphenol antioxidants. Numerous research studies show that Aronia positively regulates the gut microbiome, may protect against liver disease, has positive heart health effects, may repair stomach ulcers caused by alcohol, and can reduce inflammation in mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease.
Gut Health And Resync
Aronia berry is one of the star ingredients in Resync products, making them an excellent choice for promoting gut health. In addition, inulin, a prebiotic, is in Resync Recovery. The Resync Beverage has inulin and beta-glucan in high enough levels to support a heart-healthy lifestyle and a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Besides the beneficial effects of Aronia, prebiotics, plant-based nitrates, and collagen, other ingredients, like turmeric, ginger, red beetroot, and red spinach, may all have positive effects on your microbiome as well.
But don't forget, in addition to their positive effects on gut health, the ingredients used in Resync have clinical evidence to support their role in athletic recovery, connective tissue health, heart health, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. So try Resync products today and see what you've been missing!
Breakfast Recipes To Support A Healthy Microbiome
Get instant access to nutrient dense recipes to support your microbiome health
- Your microbiome includes bacteria that can promote health or promote disease. Which side of the balance they lie on depends on your diet and lifestyle.
- A healthy microbiome has been shown to help heart, immune, musculoskeletal, brain, and metabolic health, among other positive effects like weight management.
- Promote gut health by making sure you get enough prebiotics like fiber and probiotics like yogurt and fermented foods.
- Some of the best foods for gut health are high fiber vegetables, collagen, green and red leafy vegetables, and berries.
- Resync products provide a number of the nutrients that your gut — and your whole body — needs for optimal health.
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