Listen to Your Gut
These common phrases are actually scientifically backed. The gut-brain axis is a two-way connection between the central nervous system (the brain) and the enteric nervous system (the gut). This communication axis involves complex messaging between your endocrine, immune and nervous systems, tying the cognitive (thought-based) and emotional centers of the brain.
The gut-brain connection or axis influences the intestinal function of immune, muscle and nerve cells. Growing evidence shows microbes housed in the gut also influence these cells, making both the gut-brain axis and the intestinal microbiome important pillars for functioning communication between the bodies two main “brains.” Research is growing tying issues with the gut-brain axis to depression, mood disorders, schizophrenia, irritable bowel syndrome and more. Scientists continue to uncovering more about these complex systems and relationships shown to drive our health and well-being.
Most of the bacteria housed in the gastrointestinal tract are either benign (neutral) or beneficial to our health. Good bacteria aids in digestion, regulates the immune system, and is essential for health. The more diverse your good gut bacteria, the better. Diet is an important factor influencing the gut microbiome. Eating a whole food, plant-based diet provides the fiber the good bacteria need to survive and the fuel to flourish.
Creating a productive communication system begins in the gut and from the kitchen.
Identify the process
Our gut health is impacted by the composition and alteration of our food choices. Can you identify the highest risk?
Processed foods are changed from the fundamental nature of the agriculture product, including anytime we cook, bake or cut food. A processed food has undergone a change from its original form, such as canning, smoking, pasteurizing or drying. White bread, pasta, rice, and other refined grains are processed foods that feed pathogenic(harmful) bacteria causing inflammation. Choose minimally processed foods altered slightly but retaining the food's original nutritional content.
Ultra-processed foods have also been altered and additionally include additives such as sugar, fats, chemical preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors that 'enhance' preservation, flavor, mouth feel, texture and food stability. Ultra-processed foods often add calories with minimal nutrition, impair microbial life and cause inflammation by damaging healthy gut bacteria.
Are additive 'benefits' in Ultra-Processed Foods worth the risk?
Improves texture, and color
Helps preserve food
Serves as a bulking agent
Increases feeling of fullness
Protect against spoilage
Lengthen shelf life
Before reaching for your next shelf-stable snack, consider the resulting instability it may bring to your gut health.
Promote Healthy Bacteria
Fuel with Fiber
Fiber promotes and fuels a healthy gut microbiome. Consuming a low fiber diet starves the good bacteria present decreasing microbial diversity causing bacteria to feed on the gastrointestinal mucous barrier. Bad bacteria closer to intestinal tissue increases risk of infection. But, even a 2-week increase in fiber can positively alter the gut microbiome.
Plan for Prebiotics
Probiotics are the non-digestible food components (dietary fiber) that feed and promote beneficial existing bacteria in the body while starving and crowding out the bad bacteria. Probiotics are not a form of bacteria, rather they are a fuel source for bacteria. Examples include garlic, onion, leeks, cabbage, beans, legumes, oats, apples, cherries.
Probiotics are live cultures, or the 'good' bacteria housed in our intestine. Probiotics help change or repopulate the gut to balance the microbiome, aid in digestion, immune function, and produce vitamins. Probiotics are found in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi, sourdough bread, pickled vegetables. Create your own fermented items at home
OR Video on Pickling?
Fermented food are a great sources of probiotics. Pickling or canning foods has been a tradition for generations. Get creative in your kitchen with our tips and tricks.
Get to Know Kimchi
Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radish, made with a widely varying selection of seasonings including gochugaru (chili powder), spring onions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood), It is also used in a variety of soups.
Did You Know?
You can reverse and renew the destruction caused by poor gut bacteria with a diet rich in Anti-Inflammatory Foods. Mostly found in plants theses foods fight inflammation and help reduce risk of cancer and other chronic conditions.
Include these anti-inflammatory foods often:
· Cruciferous Vegetables · Dark Leafy Greens
· Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric
· Wild Caught Fatty Fish · Extra Virgin Olive Oil
· Nuts and Seeds, especially Walnuts
· Beans and Legumes