By. Dr. Chantell Groenewald M. Tech Hom UJ
The human microbiome houses some trillions of microorganisms which mostly consisys of bacteria. The total genetic make-up of our microbiome far outweigh our own genetic make-up.
Humans are 99.9% the same from a genetic point of view, it is our microbiome that separates us, the composition of each individual's microbiome can differ up to 80-90% from one person to another.
Our gut microbiome (some 3 trillion genes vs our own 22 000 genes) plays such an important role in our normal physiological processes, including metabolism, breaking down nutrients for absorption, hormone production and immunity.
Several diseases have been linked to an imbalance in the gut microbiome and for this reason it is crucial to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Research now even suggests that what attracts us to other people is their microbiome which may house microbes that our body needs to heal.
As you can see, a healthy balance of our gut microbiome is essential for a healthy host. For this reason, we should strive to eat food that feed the healthy gut microbiome and avoid foods that feed the bad bacteria.
Here are 5 tips to a healthy gut microbiome.
Avoid gluten. Gluten stimulates the secretion of zonulin in the gut, which affects the integrity of the gut lining and causes leaky gut syndrome and inflammation.
Red meat and dairy. Several research studies have shown that a diet high in red meat and dairy caused significant decrease in beneficial gut bacteria.
Mediterranean type diet: The Mediterranean diet according to science still remains, the healthiest type of diet for our gut and by extension for our health. This is a diet filled with legumes, healthy fats and fish (unfortunately not pasta and bread). It is an anti-inflammatory based diet that nourishes good bacteria.
Eat food rich in a diverse spectrum of healthy bacteria. This includes foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.
Avoid fresh produce sprayed with pesticides. Glyphosate is the most widely used anti-pesticide spray used in South Africa. It acts as an anti-biotic and kills healthy gut bacteria. Use an anti-pesticide spray, peel your veggies or buy pesticide free produce where possible.
Hippocrates was the father of modern medicine, he was a man way ahead of his time and understood the importance of gut health and overall health. For this reason he said, "disease begins in the gut".
Stool analysis is a test aimed at identifying various spesies in the microbiome, good and bad, as well as identifying markers for gut permeability and inflammation. This unique test can identify overgrowth of various species or missing species that negatively affect our health. This test offers valuable insight into gut health and diseases associated with dysbiosis of gut flora.
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