No Guts, No Glory: Two Tips to Diversify Your Microbiome
Research continues to show what we consume—from foods to medications—influences the composition and diversity of our microbiome, which does everything from regulate our metabolism and mood to influence long-term risk for Parkinson’s disease.
You may have read that beer and chocolate are on the gut-friendly list. Here are two ways you can use today’s latest research to your advantage, without caving in to those tempting headlines! (Remember, too much of these foods can have the reverse effect.)
Gut Hack 1: Fill up with fiber.
Prebiotics are fermentable fibers that change the composition and activity of the microbiota, which provides health benefits to the human “host.” The best sources contain nondigestible oligosaccharides and resistant starches that are only available in plant-based foods.
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Chicory root
- Raw dandelion greens
- Whole grains
- Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
Gut Hack 2: Add fermented foods.
Fermented foods contain live microorganisms that resist digestion. They flourish once they reach our digestive tract and provide us with additional health benefits. They feed off prebiotics and may help with weight loss, the prevention of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and even mood disorders.
- Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)
- Kimchi (Korean spicy cabbage)
- Tempeh (a fermented soybean product)
- Soy sauce
- Water kefir
To foster a healthy and diverse microbiome, make sure you include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet. Steer clear of inflammatory foods, like red meat, oils, fried foods, sugar, and cheese, to make sure your digestive tract has an easy time doing its job.
Want to learn more about how to cultivate a set of disease-fighting microbes? If you’re a health care provider, please join us at the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine in Washington, D.C., on July 29 to 30, where we’ll discuss how what we eat influences our microbiome and risk for inflammation, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Are you simply looking for tips to help you make the best choices at the grocery store? Here’s a list of plant-based staples to help get you started.
Let us know what you think. Share your favorite gut-friendly meals on social media with #PlantBasedRx.