Mind Your Microbes: Gut Health

I have a gut feeling that things are about to become much more interesting in the science world.1, 2, 3 As researchers continue to discover more and more exciting news about just how our microbiomes can uniquely identify us, change our food cravings, and alter our health, we must continually realize the importance of keeping a ‘healthy gut’.4 While this phrase has become increasingly popular in the mainstream world of health, many still do not realize exactly is meant by having ‘good gut health’. Perhaps more troubling – they have no idea how to obtain it. A Paleo diet will be the single best thing you can do for your gut, by avoiding Western foods which have been proven to alter gut bacteria in a negative fashion.5, 6

By adding in foods that help to promote gut health (fermented choices like sauerkraut) you will be moving things in the right direction.7, 8 Poor gut health is correlated with a multitude of negative symptoms and conditions, including a lifetime of antibiotic treatments (which have increasingly been shown to be detrimental to the microbiome), and is often the most common problem experienced by anyone with poor health. 9, 10, 11, 12

For over a decade, researchers have known that the gut microflora is a major part of metabolic activities that result in salvage of energy and absorbable nutrients.13 Researchers have also known that the microbiota plays a crucial role as a source of infection and environmental insult and also in protection against disease and maintenance of gut function.14 Since this is scientific information, the general public remained largely unaware of it – even as we became fatter, sicker and more likely to receive a host of antibiotic treatments.15, 16, 17

Sadly, it has taken illness, poor health and chronic pain for many to discover a Paleo diet. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Preventative – rather than reactive – measures are ideal when looking to maintain one’s health in the long term.18 Since your microbiome is a unique fingerprint, you want it to be in the best shape possible.19, 20, 21 Researchers at Harvard recently even warned that people may be able to be identified by their microbiome fingerprint (which has possible data privacy implications).22 Fast food has been shown to worsen the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the gut, and also increases the likelihood of obesity.23, 24 These are all good reasons to adopt a Paleo diet and ‘mind your microbes’ – as the saying goes.

Lastly, many are unaware that they themselves carry more bacterial cells than human cells – meaning that bacteria literally run our lives.25, 26, 27 This is one of the biggest reasons to really focus on improving your own gut’s health – and in turn – adopt a better diet. Western diets have poor implications and results for the human microbiome – it is a bad idea to continue to eat that way.28, 29, 30 Instead, focus on a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory Paleo Diet – and make your bacteria happy.


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This article originally appeared on The Paleo Diet.