Your Life” from “Eat This, Not That!” states:
What if we told you the keys to solving your health and weight issues aren’t just cutting calories, exercising, and drinking less soda. It’s also making sure you eat more bugs.
No, we’re not talking about those bugs. We’re talking about the trillions of helpful bacteria that live in your gut and play a fundamental role in maintaining a healthy and happy body. (And yes, we said trillions—many estimates equate that number with making up three pounds of your total body weight!) This community, referred to by scientists as your “gut microbiota” or “gut microbiome,” can be composed of around 500 species which each supply their own benefits: Some of them break down your food and extract nutrients; others hunt for food pathogens; and others help protect you from colds and flus. In fact, they play such a critical role in our health that many experts have started to refer to the microbiome as its own organ. All of this sounds like a good thing—so what’s the problem?
The problem is this: When we eat too much junk food (especially sugar) and take too many drugs (like antibiotics or antidepressants), we can knock our digestive systems out of whack and disrupt the composition of our gut. When your good gut bugs are depleted, bad bacteria can take over, causing health issues that range from skin conditions to depression. What’s more, researchers are finding that obese people have different gut bugs than healthy-weight people, suggesting that cultivating a proper gut garden may help solve weight troubles.
So, if you’re struggling with weight-loss, anxiety, stress, skin issues, fatigue, or chronic sickness, you might want to start looking at your gut. The good news is that you can empower your gut microbiota and help it fight back against the invaders by feeding your beneficial bacteria the foods they—and you—need to stay healthy. Below you’ll find out the cutting edge science behind why nurturing a healthy gut is essential to maintaining a healthy life. And no worries if your gut bugs seem to have taken a vacation; we’ve also compiled the top tips for how you can start healing your belly biome!
A Healthy Gut…
Tips The Scale In Your Favor
Our weight is dramatically affected by these little buggers. In fact, countless studies have shown us that obese people have higher levels of bad bacteria from the phylum Firmicutes while lean people have higher levels of bacteria from the phylum Bacteroidetes. So, are probiotics helpful in fixing this? Well, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition thinks so. Researchers found that when obese women were given a daily probiotic supplement on top of a calorie-restricted diet to lose weight, their average weight loss was significantly higher than women who followed the same restricted diet but were given a placebo.
When you constantly eat inflammatory foods (fried foods, refined flours, sugars, etc.), you can force your body into a state of chronic inflammation. Which, in turn, causes weight gain, joint pain, fatigue, and increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. One of the ways it does that is by starving your gut microbiome. (Bacteria need food, too!) Let us explain: These inflammatory foods are typically lacking in their natural fibers—a critical nutrient that not only keeps you fuller longer but also feeds your gut bugs. Your good bacteria nosh on and ferment these fibers into a fatty acid—known as butyrate—that encourages more efficient fat oxidation. Higher levels of butyrate reduce inflammation in your body and also acts as a defense against bad, pathogenic bacteria, according to a review in Advances in Nutrition.
Can Prevent Colds
Does it seem like you get a cold every other week? If so, your microbiota might be to blame. Your gut is home to 70 to 80 percent of your body’s immune cells, so it’s no wonder so many autoimmune diseases have been linked to unidentified gastrointestinal problems. Several studies have found that the regular intake of a probiotic may prevent the occurrence or reduce the duration of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, and a meta-analysis of 10 studies published in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine found evidence that the administration of probiotics can even prevent catching the common cold.
Alleviates Skin Conditions
Eczema, psoriasis, acne, and many other skin disorders are not merely “skin deep.” Because our microbiome helps regulate our immune system, its composition and health play an important role in combating inflammatory diseases like skin conditions. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that the immune system (of which the majority is located in your gut) helps select which microbes live on the surface of the skin: participants with a weak immune system harbored a different collection of microbes that were found on healthy individuals. Therapeutic research in the field is in the preliminary stages, but experts believe administering probiotics to those suffering from skin conditions can reduce patients’ levels of inflammatory proteins and alleviate symptoms. And just like skin, the health of your hair is moderated by multiple unseen factors.
Extract Nutrients From Our Food
There is increasing evidence that the composition of our microbial community influences the nutritional value of food. How is that? Isn’t food the same no matter who eats it? Not exactly. Our gut bugs help digest and break down the proteins, carbs, and fatty acids in our foods so we can extract its nutrients, including essential vitamins such as B vitamins 12 and 9 (folate) and vitamin K. Folate is important for keeping your DNA control mechanisms functioning properly—i.e. keeping your fat genes switched “OFF!” In fact, research has shown the Bifidum species of bacteria—which is typically lower in obese individuals—is particularly active in producing folate. So, less Bifidum means less control over your genes and more belly fat.
Helps With A Healthy Hoo-Ha
Probiotics are particularly important for women’s vaginal health! “There’s a naturally acidic PH in [your vagina],” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN. “And some of the most helpful foods are those that also have good bacteria.” Maintaining a healthy gut will help balance out your vagina’s PH levels to keep things fresh down there. Another plus to probiotics? They help ward off bad bacteria as well, keeping infections down there at bay.
Keeps Us Happy
You may have heard the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, but there may be more truth in that saying if you switched heart to brain. Mounting scientific evidence is showing that the composition of our gut microbiota plays a critical role in influencing cognitive behaviors and emotions such as anxiety, depression, stress, autism, learning, and memory through our “gut-brain axis,” according to a review in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. And an astounding 95 percent of your happy hormone serotonin is made and stored in your gut. Who knew?
In fact, a study in the journal PNAS found that when mice were infected with an anxiety-inducing parasite and then given a strain of probiotics, reduced levels of stress hormones and less anxiety- and depression-related behavior resulted. And researchers at the Office of Naval Research discovered they could improve moods of anxious mice by feeding them healthy microbes from calm mice. Both studies have opened doors to the possibilities of using probiotics to treat neurological disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Those intuitive “gut feelings” could actually be your gut microbiota trying to tell your brain something. We just read how gut microbes can make us happy, but other research is showing these little gut bugs might be affecting your brain in a more direct, physical way. According to researchers at University College Cork, gut bacteria play a role in regulating genes that are crucial for proper nerve signal functioning. Microbiota-deficiency results in the breakdown of the product of these genes, myelin, which is also a symptom of the disease multiple sclerosis—a condition where the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, leading to severe tremors, temporary vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. Beyond the fact probiotics might act as a therapy for MS, this study also shows us how a healthy gut is necessary for proper brain signaling.
Prevents the Growth of Pathogens
Keeping a dense and diverse microbial community will also protect your gut from being colonized by pathogens as well as minimizing the overgrowth of disease-causing organisms, according to a study in Nature Immunology. These harmful pathogens—which you can ingest from mishandled food, untreated water, or improper hygiene—can cause mild diseases like food poisoning to more severe issues like tuberculosis.
Controls Your Appetite
One way in which your microbiome affects your weight and metabolism may be connected to your gut bugs’ ability to regulate appetite. According to researchers at New York University, a stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori can actually change the levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, in your body. With the rise of antibiotics and a diet based on refined foods, the levels of H. pylori have decreased in our belly biomes. And that means less of its inhibiting effect on our appetites—perhaps reason for why many of us are always hungry.
Can Protect You From Heart Disease
Researchers found that when patients with hypertriglyceridemia—a coronary-artery-disease precursor characterized by elevated triglyceride levels possibly caused by obesity and sedentary habits—were given a daily probiotic supplement for 12 weeks, their triglyceride levels improved along with an additional decrease in risk factors for heart disease, according to a study in the journal Atherosclerosis.
...And a Host of Health Issues
Think of your gut like a college admissions board: it likes diversity. There are hundreds of known bacterial species, and a happy gut should have a lot of them. Research is showing that the diversity (both the number of different species and the evenness of those species) of your microbiome is an important part of your health. In fact, a study in the journal Nature found that individuals with a low bacterial diversity were characterized by more overall adiposity, insulin resistance, abnormally elevated cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood and a more pronounced inflammatory phenotype. Yikes. How do you increase your gut’s diversity? Feed it with a plant-heavy diet, play outside (there really is some merit to “rubbing some dirt in it!”), and stop killing off species with microbe-murdering villains like antibiotic-laden meats, processed foods, and sugar.
I said in my “Are You Staying Active and Productive?” Blog “The next Important Factor in ‘the simplicity that is in Christ’ is people must KNOW When, Where and How to draw the ‘Line.’” There is so much Health Information out there. People not drawing a “Line” is why people try every new gimmick that comes out. A Relationship with God through the Holy Spirit is how people learn to draw the “Line.” God put EVERYTHING people need for a Complete and Total Life on the inside of them before the Foundation of the World. The EVERYTHING includes how to stay Healthy. People must learn to look to the inside instead of looking to the outside. A Relationship with the Holy Spirit is people looking to the inside. A Relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and Action, which is God’s Process (Posted at this Website) gets EVERYTHING to the Surface. The Spiritual of Reading the Bible Daily, Purpose, which God’s Process gets people to and Fasting make the Natural of Exercise, Diet and Sleep Work.
ARE YOU GETTING YOUR INFORMATION TO THE SURFACE?