Gut Health

Where did this begin?

When you were born, your gut (colon) was sterile. During the first weeks of life bacteria started to grow and this formed your essential gut microbiome. This gut microbiome is like a garden being cultivated. This process can be interrupted due to complications in birth, mother not being able to breast feed, or mother has a gut flora imbalance leading up to and during birth. Things happen within our lives that affect this garden in our gut. Foods we eat, medications we use, and illness all have an impact on our gut flora balance.

What foods can I eat to reestablish a balanced gut microbiome?

Microbiome

By eating foods that are difficult to digest, we promote the formation of healthy gut bacteria. Resistant carbohydrates are carbohydrates that have a high cellulose content.

Our digestive system is unable to digest cellulose, so the cellulose ferments in the colon. This fermentation process cultivates a balance of bacterium in the colon.

Examples of resistant carbohydrates:

Gut Health

• Corn

• Oats

• Whole wheat

• Barley

• Cabbage

• Broccoli

• Quinoa

• Brussel sprouts

• Leafy green vegetables

But wait, aren’t bacteria a bad thing?

Bacteria

A bacterium that dominates other species is bad. But bacteria in balance help to keep each species in check. These bacteria in our gut help us to break down and absorb protein correctly. This bacterial balance also forms folate, vitamin K and the B group vitamins in our gut. If the bacteria are within balance our need to supplement these vitamins will decline.

Foods to consume in moderation to protect our gut microbiome.

Preservatives are designed to halter bacterial growth in foods so that it does not spoil. This bacteriostatic action damages the bacterial growth in our gut. Processed foods such as refined sugars and flours are acidic. As bacteria is a protein, this acidity kills the bacteria. Alcohol is a preservative, it too will kill bacteria that is forming in our gut.

FlashBack Health

Reference

Dunn, A. B., Jordan, S., Baker, B. J., & Carlson, N. S. (2017). The Maternal Infant Microbiome: Considerations for Labor and Birth. MCN. The American journal of maternal child nursing, 42(6), 318-325. doi:10.1097/NMC.0000000000000373

Irwin, S. V., Fisher, P., Graham, E., Malek, A., & Robidoux, A. (2017). Sulfites inhibit the growth of four species of beneficial gut bacteria at concentrations regarded as safe for food. PLoS ONE, 12(10), e0186629-e0186629. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186629

Keenan, M. J., Zhou, J., Hegsted, M., Pelkman, C., Durham, H. A., Coulon, D. B., & Martin, R. J. (2015). Role of resistant starch in improving gut health, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 6(2), 198-205. doi:10.3945/an.114.007419

Resta, S. C. (2009). Effects of probiotics and commensals on intestinal epithelial physiology: implications for nutrient handling. The Journal of physiology, 587(17), 4169-4174.

Ross, R. P., Mills, S., & Hill, C. (2017). Bacteriocins and bacteriophage; a narrow-minded approach to food and gut microbiology. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 41(Supp_1), S129-S153. doi:10.1093/femsre/fux022

Rowland, I., Gibson, G., Heinken, A., Scott, K., Swann, J., Thiele, I., & Tuohy, K. (2018). Gut microbiota functions: metabolism of nutrients and other food components. European Journal of Nutrition, 57(1), 1-24. doi:10.1007/s00394-017-1445-8

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