After spending two incredibly science-rich days (27 presentations) at the Human Microbiome Congress in San Diego (Feb 10-11), I walked away being validated for yet another reason why it's important to eat a whole food, plant-based diet. It's the FIBER! (Note well: ALL animal products are DEVOID of fiber.)
Image from PRCM's article Seven Foods to Supercharge Your Gut Bacteria
Also emphasized was the fact that the study of the Human Microbiome is in its infancy. There exists a phenomenal number (galaxies) of microbes: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that our bodies host, a goodly 3-4 pounds of them inhabit our gut. It will take decades to discover and classify them, and then another goodly amount of time to understand how they all interact.
One item of concern at this early date is that due to a number of environmental factors (our mother's microbiome, birthing method, diet, antibiotic use, over-hygiene, and environmental toxins) both the number and the diversity of our microbiomes are diminishing in relation to what has been.
Since we actually share in a symbiotic relationship with our microbes (each is dependent upon the other) it is to our best interest to keep a healthy colony of these 'bugs' and to make sure that we promote a healthy diversity of them as well.
We can help in three ways.
Eat FIBER foods = plants. When the good gut 'bugs' aren't fed, they are known to either die off or start eating away at the gut mucus lining. Whoa! This is known as one of the causes of digestive disorders (irritable bowel disease, colitis, leaky gut).
We can eat 'bug food,' those must-chew-fiber-foods that contain a rich amount of insoluble fiber/resistant starch (ROOTS, like potatoes, beets, jicama, radishes, etc.)
We can repopulate some of the microbial population by eating FERMENTED vegetables and foods like unprocessed sauerkraut, kimchI, tempeh, miso, kombucha, kvass, as well as dairy-free yogurt and kefir.
Come learn more on March 22, 2016. Attend Feed Your Microbiome for Digestive and Immune Support. Experience a live Sauerkraut demo, and sample some delicious 'bugs.' Santa Cruz, CA.
These classes fill up, so sign up today! Early Bird and Bring-a-Friend discounts available