The Microbiome Diet 101 (Part 1)
As a specialist in functional medicine in New York City and intestinal health for over two decades, I have seen phenomenal transformations take place in patients when applying the principles of The Microbiome Diet. By refocusing the way we eat and live, it is possible to tap into the healing power of the trillions of microscopic organisms flourishing within the intestine, collectively called the gut microbiome. These bacteria are our most important health allies, instrumental in key processes that take place in the body every day. They help digest our food, govern appetite, control metabolism, regulate the immune system, influence mood and brain function and even help determine the ways genes are expressed. Without them, we lack the foundation necessary to maintain or rebuild health and vibrancy.
What is The Microbiome Diet?
This is the first diet of it’s kind, based upon cutting edge scientific breakthroughs to heal and replenish the microbiome. When the microbiome flourishes so do we, however when it’s out of balance, a state called dysbiosis, our health begins to falter. The Microbiome Diet was created with the specific focus of nourishing friendly, protective bacteria, while pruning species that have overgrown healthy limits. This approach not only improves function through the entire body, it raises the bar on what it means to actually be healthy. Patients frequently report benefits in systems and areas that seem completely disconnected from gut health. All roads lead to the microbiome and all health stems from a vibrant, thriving ecosystem.
1) As much as 90% of the cells in your body are actually bacterial, not human!
2) The vast majority of species are helpful and necessary for both life and health, including those that may become pathogenic when overgrown. In the right balance, most strains contribute to the health of the whole. (So let’s maintain balance!)
3) The microbiome produces Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) which are used as a fuel source by cells of the intestine, promote the growth of healthful strains of bacteria, decrease inflammation, improve the immune system, boost brain function, balance mood, and even alleviate anxiety.
4) Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers transmitting information through the brain and body, influencing the way we think and feel, plus they’re made by bacteria!
5) They produce natural antibiotics and vitamins to protect and nourish us.
6) Microbes regulate metabolism.
7) The immune system and microbiome live together in the intestine and are inextricably intertwined. The health of one depends on the health of the other.
Microbiome Diet Basics
While we’ll go much deeper into the specifics of The Microbiome Diet in part two, here are some of the basic principles of eating for the overall health of your microbiome.
1) Load up on plant foods that heal your gut and support the microbiome.
2) Avoid foods that are inflammatory and trigger imbalances in the gut microbiome.
3) Consume foods loaded with natural probiotics, which replenish the microbiome.
4) Consume foods containing prebiotic fibers to nourish healing bacteria.
5) Certain herbs, spices, and compounds are beneficial and can improve the overall health of both your intestine and bacteria.
Be sure to check back for Part 2 of The Microbiome Diet!