What if all of our health problems could be improved from focussing on just one of our organs?
According to Gut Reactions: How Healthy Insides Can Improve Your Weight, Mood and Well-Being, due to society’s vast change in eating habits our fast-food hungry guts are not functioning as intended. The malleable genome (or easily influenced group of genes which inhabit our gut) may be the very reason diseases like Cancer, Asthma, Irritable Bowl and Diabetes are prevalent in today’s ‘hustle and bustle’ society. Our fast-paced way of living dictates that the foods we ingest in conjunction with the quick fixes we take, like antibiotics; compromise the health of microbiota in our gut and intestine. Now with no significant cures for these diseases around the corner, Justin and Erica Sonnenburg suggest that the gut is a good place to start. By nurturing our gut bacteria we gain more control over our immune system and therefore our overall health.
Did you know that our gut bacteria are on the endangered species list? Yep! This is due to our overly processed Westernized diet, which does not consist of enough nutrients for the bacteria to survive. So let’s save the little guys! By decreasing the amount of processed food we ingest and increasing our fermented food intake, we improve the life span of our loving, nurturing bacteria. These microbes are the product of years of evolution. Imagine living life harmoniously with a stable job, a roof over your head, a loving family and one day - bam! You’ve lost your job, the roof over your head has burned to the ground and your family is lost to a zombie apocalypse. Yeah, it’s like that. Everything we are surrounded by becomes a part of us. The city you live in? It’s literally a part of you – bacterially speaking.
Thankfully, gut bacteria often adapts to dietary changes. For example, our ancestor’s microbiota would seasonally adapt in conjunction with whatever food was available. This is what microbiota are currently doing in an attempt to survive our 21st century diet. This doesn’t constitute bad eating habits; we are still inflicting future health issues upon ourselves by ignoring our microbiota’s livelihood. So how can we re-balance our gut bacteria in order to function accordingly? Our ancestors foraged for fibrous foods and hunted for lean, gamey meat and they possessed the most ‘normal’ gut bacteria in comparison to a current healthy individual. Food in its most natural state is the most beneficial for our overall health and the preservation of gut bacteria. So you may be wondering why gut health expert, Kriben Govender, is pressing for more people to be ingesting fermented foods. Well, not only is Kombucha the rad, new fermented drink in every hipster café in Melbourne; but both Kombucha and Kefir grains (live culture/friendly bacteria) are extremely beneficial for improving gut functionality. One teaspoon of Kefir in the form of milk, water or yogurt could improve your overall health and weight management dramatically.
Reference: Sonnenburg, J, Sonnenburg, E 2017, Gut Reactions: How Healthy Insides Can Improve Your Weight, Mood and Well-Being, Transworld Publishing, Great Britain.