The gut (gastrointestinal tract) is the long tube that starts at our mouth and ends at the back passage also called anus.
The food travels from mouth, down to food pipe, then to stomach, further to intestine.
The GUT processes food- It is either absorbed by the body or passed out as a stool.
The gut is so important part of your body that 80% of your body´s immunity resides there.
Now just imagine, all the allergies and health problems, where your immune system fails to protect you, GUT has a hand in it.
Our Gut is home to billions of bacteria (Good and Bad) where they are in a continuous fight with each other for space. So, more good ones mean less bad ones.
After having Gluten Free, Dairy Free and possibly all kind of toxin-free life, I was still suffering from some nutritional deficiencies and especially constipation. I was taking my multivitamins and multi mineral on time.
Then, I discovered about Gut bacteria’s. Firstly after reading about their importance, I was literally in tears because I have spent so much money on quality food, supplements and knowing that body cannot use these nutrients in the absence of good bacterias in our Gut.
This means you bought an expensive Wild Salmon Fish Steak and your body cannot take the full advantages of it because you lack good bacterias. How unfortunate is that?
Their most important role in the body is:
- Assisting in digestion and absorption of your food
- Make and absorb vitamin B12 and Biotin that we get from food.
- Play a significant role in your immune function ( Fights off inflammations and disease causing bacterias )
- Impact your mood and mental health
- Impact your weight ( Less Appetite )
- Stronger Bones ( Better Calcium Absorption )
- Better Energy regulation
Can you imagine, that a disorder of Gut can cause:
- Acid reflux and oesophagitis.
- Cancer of the bowel, liver, pancreas, and stomach
- Coeliac disease.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Duodenal ulcer.
- Piles (hemorrhoids)
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Itchy bottom (pruritus ani).
- Blood in stools (feces), called rectal bleeding.
- Stomach (gastric) ulcer.
- Toddler’s diarrhea.
- Ulcerative colitis.
All the inflammations related to autoimmune diseases and the list goes on. I was once two months on the ketogenic diet, where my carbohydrate consumption was below 10 grams per day. I was mainly on FAT and one serving of vegetable plate per day rest all FAT.
I was having that mental clarity because of ketones, but I starved my good bacterias. I developed whole new food allergies, my mood was always bad. Due to very less fiber in the diet, I was always constipated.
Then I found the missing link.
Since this delicate balance of tiny microorganisms in our body is so important, we should know
- What Kills good bacterias
- How to nourish them and help them reproduce for better health.
These good bacterias won’t survive if we do not feed them or kill them by certain eating habits and taking certain medications. Their food is called Prebiotic and these bacterias are called Probiotics
What kills Probiotics:
- Painkiller and Antibiotics: Yes! antibiotics deplete good bacterias from your Gut. The Solution is (For short-term relief of allergy symptoms, acupuncture has been found to be effective.
- Poor diets and environmental toxins like Pollutions: By following my recommendations on diet, your body will be well ready to fight off these environmental toxins.
- Genetically modified foods (GMO) and pesticides: “Eat Organic”
- Using antibacterial soaps
- Meat from poorly raised animals
- If Prebiotic is food for your good bacterias. Sugar is food for your bad ones. Eliminate Sugar from your diet. These are the Best Natural sweeteners for you
Probiotic Rich Foods
Probiotics as the name suggest works “PRO” for the body.
Probiotic rich diet will rapidly reshape the microbes in your gut, which has effects not only for your digestive system but also to your weight and your risk of diseases
Probiotic rich foods that you can add in your diet are:
- Lassi or Kefir (fermented yogurt drink)
- Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables
- Natto ( Fermented Soy )
Most of the people will feel great with Probiotic foods and should have them definitely in your diets.
But if you have a history of taking excess medications in the past, it might be possible that you are histamine intolerant. These probiotics rich foods produce histamine which your body (If very weak) is not able to break down easily.
It is therefore advised to slowly add these mature or fermented foods in your diet. Please be sure that there is nothing like “Histamine Free Diet”. Histamine is found in a lot of foods. We just all need to find out our thresholds. If there are any signs like the following after adding probiotic foods in the diet, please discontinue:
Probiotics and Weight Loss
Some microbes produce vitamins or anti-inflammatory molecules while other microbes speed the conversion of calories you eat into body fat. Well, it was observed that animals which do not have gut bacterias, never get fat whatever they eat. Because Gut bacteria’s make extra fat storage hormone.
There are two main families of good bacterias present in our gut:
- Firmicutes: Firmicutes is responsible for depositing calories from Sugars in fat.
It was found that thin people naturally have more Good Bacteria ( Bacteroidetes ) than obese people. You can generate more of these bacterias by eating “Polyphenols” rich foods
Polyphenols act as antioxidants and give fruits, berries, and vegetables their vibrant colors. Some of the best sources of Polyphenols are:
- Dark Chocolate
- Green Tea
- Red Wine ( Only in Moderation)
- Herbs and Spices ( Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Cloves, Peppermint, Mexican Oregano )
Polyphenols are also associated with improving Mood
Polyphenols are fat soluble, so make sure to eat them with a little bit of Fat.
Fiber: Fuel For Good Bacterias ( Prebiotic )
A prebiotic is a special type of fiber that is mainly used by the good bacteria as a fuel. Prebiotic food is undigested by the body.
The fiber in foods has always been considered a factor that promotes weight loss. Good bacterias use the fiber to grow and multiply
But, be careful with the fiber you eat. Not all fibers are equal. Some feed our gut bacterias while others actually damage the lining of our GUT. Here is a list of Prebiotic Fibers to include in your diet:
- Fiber from Vegetables like Summer Squash, Zucchini, Green Beans, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots
- Seeds and Nuts
Even though fruits are very high in Fiber but I prefer vegetables for fiber. Because of fructose content in the fruits.
Eating right kind of Fiber can shift the profile of microbes in your Gut to one that is correlated with leanness.
It is good to add fiber in the diet in moderation only. Because, if your gut health is compromised fiber feed pathogenic bacterias. I am basically on a cyclic ketogenic diet, where I eat carbs and fiber less than 15 grams a day and it is very important to wisely choose your carbs. Choose carns that work for your body and not against your body.
Resistant starch ( Prebiotic Starch )
As the name suggests Resistant starch, resists digestion. Hence, will not cause blood sugar to spike after consuming.
For weight loss, we always aim at foods that will stabilize blood sugar levels and will give us constant energy without those cravings.
- Underripe fruits like banana, papaya, and mango.
- Potato starch, tapioca starch
are rich in resistant starch
I am transferring this knowledge so, that next time you plan to eat a banana, try to go for underripe one. This does not mean that we should add them in a large amount in our diets.
One of the reasons I started writing is because whenever there is new research like ” Prebiotics are Good for the Health”. The whole internet is full of articles with Prebiotics with incomplete knowledge. No one will mention, in what amount should we eat it and what are the dark sides.
So, add prebiotic fiber in moderation only.
Probiotics for Neurological Disorders: Alzheimers and Depression
One in 10 Americans takes an antidepressant medication. Recently it was discovered, two specific probiotic organisms have that show impressive reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. Due to this remarkable effect of probiotics in the brain, our Gut is called our second brain.
We always thought that brain is solely responsible for feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Recently it was found that our gut and brain constantly talk to each other through Gut-Brain Axis. This indicates what happens in the gut has profounds effects in the brain.
Whenever my mom calls me and tell me that your dad is in bad mood today, my first question is “What did he eat in the last meal”? My next advice is to give him some berries, coffee or Dark Chocolate
When people were supplemented with the probiotic, following happened
- 50% decrease in depression scores
- 13% decrease in stress hormone cortisol in the urine
- 60% decrease in anger
- 36% decrease in the anxiety scores
Supplementation with the probiotic combination of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longumR0175 is an evidence-based, biologically approach to addressing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, stated by Dr. Mercola
Prebiotic vs Probiotic
It could have been so easy, to populate our guts by consuming good bacterias from the Fermented foods directly or popping in a probiotic pill. But, it is not that simple. There are different foods with different strains of these bacterias and we don’t know which “good” bacteria our unique bodies would benefit from. We are kind of doing a guess work.
Probiotic foods are good, but a better bet would be to nourish your beneficial bacterias through Prebiotics. Prebiotics will help your good bacterias grow and hence they will push the bad ones out.
Prebiotics, unlike probiotics, are not destroyed in the body. They are not affected by heat or stomach acid. Some prebiotics rich foods are:
- Leeks and Garlic
- Jicama Root (Raw)
- Chicory Root
- Dandelion greens
- Raw Asparagus
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Resistant starch flours like Cassava Flour, Plantain flour, Potatoe Starch, Green Banana flour act like a prebiotic
Chicory Root has the highest percentage of Prebiotic Fiber per gram
Resistant starch flours could be an alternative to bread made from grains in your diet. Introduce it slowly in your diet. They might cause some gas issues if your gut biome is upset. But, definitely, you can try adding them to your diet.
Prebiotics, together with probiotics, open the door for heightened levels of health in general. Nearly everyone can tolerate them well in the diet. Just in case you have Histamine intolerance, you can eat prebiotic food with a probiotic supplement. That means you are taking the good bacterias together with their food.
Look for a probiotic which has the ability to survive the Stomach acid. These little sweethearts (Good Bacterias) are so delicate, that if your stomach acid is high they won’t survive to reach your Gut.
If you are planning to supplement with Probiotics, some of the best brands available on the market are:
- 80% of your immune system lies in the GUT populated with good bacterias and bad bacterias
- Lean people have more good bacterias
- We can grow good bacterias by nourishing them with Prebiotic plant fiber
- Boost your Fiber intake ( Resistant Fiber and Plant Fiber ) and Eat foods higher in Polyphenols to feed your good Bacteria
- You can also directly consume healthy bacteria from Fermented and Mature foods like Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kefir etc
- Make food diversity a priority: Eat a variety of foods for different benefits from each food.