Trillions of microorganisms inhabit the human digestive system, collectively referred to as the gut microbiome. A robust gut microbiome encompasses an extensive assemblage of helpful microbes.
The gut microbiome is essential and governs various physiological roles, both near your gut and numerous muscles and organs varying from your heart to your skin.
We know the numerous benefits of greens powders for the body and mind, but how about the gut microbiome?
Is The Human Body More Microbial than Human?
Your gut microbiome is built up of trillions of microorganisms that, collectively, provide an extraordinary nine million different genes in your body.
As a matter of fact, our microbiome comprises 150 times more DNA than the rest of our entire bodies, making humans more microbial than human (1).
The gut microbial genome and the human genome are generally referred to as the “hologenome.”
Your gut is intimately related to your digestive well-being. Still, your immune system, skin, skeletal system, and even your cognitive functional capacity relies on a robust gut microbiome.
What Is A Healthy Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome comprises numerous extended families of bions, including bacteria, parasites, germs, and fungi.
Ordinarily, most of these microbes are located in the large intestine, with comparatively fewer microbes found in the abdomen and small intestine.
Although we are not exactly sure what a healthy gut microbiome consists of, scientists are conscious of distinct microbial varieties and their benefits.
For example, scientists know that four specific species of bacteria make up the microbiome; These are (2):
90% of the bacterial varieties in the gut microbiome are made up of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. We also know from analysis that a greater variety of gut microbes is linked with greater well-being.
Genetics, race, and intimate human associations also seem to affect the structure of our gut microbiome.
What Lives In Your Gut Microbiome?
Your microbiome contains more than just bacteria; various fungi, parasites, and microorganisms also reside there.
Commensal bacteria is bacteria that is deemed “traditional” and resides in the gut (3). Certain bacteria incorporate fragments of Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Lactobacillus, and Clostridia.
Though some “Clostridia” carry damaging microorganisms such as Clostridium difficile, several Clostridia varieties are helpful and assist in maintaining robust gut health.
Opportunistic bacteria customarily show at moderate levels in the gut; however, they can turn problematical as they tend to increase when good bacteria have been consumed.
These vacillators comprise Bacillus, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus.
Fungi generally tend to reside in the gut microbiome; however, they only make up a minimal number of microorganisms.
Candida spp, Geotrichum, and Saccharomyces are traditional opportunistic gut parasites that may accumulate due to a diet high in carbohydrates or excessive antibiotic use.
These types of pathogenic bacteria are generally obtained via the
Pathogenic gut bacteria and generally obtained through the destruction of spoiled food or liquid.
Likewise, pathogens may be parasitic and or viral. Adenovirus regularly produces respiratory viruses and can contaminate the gastrointestinal tract, while norovirus triggers critical intense vomiting and nausea.
What Does the Gut Microbiome Do?
A healthy gut plays an essential role in maintaining mobility in the gastrointestinal tract, supporting a healthy gut barrier, and many other crucial functions to maintaining your health.
Your microbiome directly affects your cognitive brain function through the gut-brain axis; The gut-brain axis is a chain of neurons and indicating molecules that connect the central nervous system to the guts “enteric system.” (4)
Disturbances in the gut microbiome are related to autism, ADHD, neurodegenerative disorders, stress, and depression. The reconstruction of a strong microbiome with prebiotics and probiotics may mitigate neuro-behavioral and neurodegenerative disorders.
These conclusions firmly advise that the gut microbiome is a changeable determinant in the evolution of cognitive ailments.
Your microbiome may perform a crucial function in promoting specific cancers, especially breast and colon cancer. The analysis shows that the gut microbiome in ladies with breast cancer varies significantly from women who are healthy.
Specific microbes are capable of metabolizing the effects of estrogens on our bodies. The number of these bacteria can vary and may stimulate the evolution of breast cancer.
Moreover, susceptibility to estrogen-like composites, generally through environmental dangers, like BPA carrying bottles and other kinds of plastic packaging, may remodel the microbiome, pointing to unwanted differences that may also impact breast cancer growth (5).
Factors That Can Upset The Microbiome
An overabundance of circumstances in modern-day life obstructs the gut microbiome. Ensuring we are aware of these determinants can help us make educated decisions regarding supporting your gut microbiome.
The unmitigated overuse of antibiotics is a severe problem that can swiftly alter the gut microbiome (6). Think of this; antibiotics are so harmful that even just one course can dramatically modify the gut microbiome.
The primary reason antibiotics are so harmful is that they create scope for pathogens to propagate. The overuse of antibiotics has also added to the sudden emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are accountable for MRSA’s acute infections.
Standard Western Diet
If you’re looking to evade destroying or damaging your gut microbiome, there’s one thing you must avoid at all costs, and that’s the Standard Western diet.
The standard Western diet is jam-packed full of harmful refined carbohydrates, processed foods, artificial sweeteners and is woefully low in dietary fiber (7). These factors contribute significantly to inflammation and may lead to several chronic diseases such as diabetes and certain cancers.
These inflammatory alterations are also associated with cognitive brain function, immune system efficiency, and metabolic dysfunction.
Meal replacements are an excellent option especially if you’ve added a scoop of organic greens to the smoothie.
Foods That Have Been Genetically Modified
Genetically modified foods, or (GMO), are the topic of notable contention in our society (8).
Numerous experts contend that GMOs are culpable for the prevailing pandemics of allergic and gut conditions; On the other hand, GMO advocates instantly reject these concerns as being unfounded and not based on science.
Although more research is required on GMOs and how they affect us, mounting data shows GMOs may provoke unwanted gut microbiome variations. Some alarming analysis reveals that GMOs experience horizontal gene transfer within our microbiome; this can negatively influence the gut, with hidden impacts on our long-term well-being.
I strongly suggest bypassing or steering clear of certain foods that are most prevalently affected by GMO; these food are;
- Sugar Beets
- Canola Oil
Unfortunately, all of these foods are disproportionately affected by GMOs; however, if you choose from them, ensure you choose 100% natural or organic.
Sleep and Circadian Rhythm
Quality sleep and circadian rhythm are often overlooked when it comes to the role they play in microbiome health; these two factors can significantly negatively affect the gut microbiome.
Some animal research has shown the link between circadian disturbance and the damaging of the gut microbiome.
When it comes to us humans, our sleep patterns can be affected by shift work, which can negatively modify our microbiome, causing conditions such as poor skin health, loss of energy, and a reduction in overall immune system health.
Chronic Stress And Anxiety
Stress and chronic anxiety not only reduces your quality of life but also hurts the gut microbiome. Several animal studies have shown that chronic stress and anxiety are linked to lowering bacterial variety and good gut bacteria.
Anxiety may also produce microbiome changes by clearing out catecholamines and other hormones that change microbial germination.
Stress has also been shown to oxygenate the intestines, consequently influencing the varieties of microbes that can survive.
Stress also alters the oxygenation of the intestine, influencing which varieties of microbes can survive there.
Different Ways To Support Your Microbiome
If you are experiencing problems with dysbiosis, there are many alternatives available to help heal your gut. There are several practical steps you can take to help support a healthy gut microbiome.
However, if you have any existing severe conditions, we recommend seeking advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
Adequate Amounts Of Dietary Fiber
To support the microbiome, foods that are nutrient-dense make the ideal choice. These foods or “superfoods” are generally very high in fiber levels; fiber helps promote helpful or “good” gut bacteria.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, resistant starch travels through the body, particularly the small intestine, and acts as nutrients to feed good bacteria in the large intestine.
Consuming the resistant starch is associated with increases in metabolic and digestive well-being.
Polyphenols In Greens And Other Foods
Foods rich in polyphenols such as greens and darker leafy greens are an excellent way to mitigate inflammation in the body (9).
High-quality Third-Party tested super green supplements make an ideal choice here as they are rich in polyphenols. Because of their powdered form and pure organic ingredients, nutrients like polyphenols and fiber are easily absorbable.
Dark leafy greens are excellent dietary fiber sources and include essential nutrients such as folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A.
Research suggests that consuming dark leafy greens and high-quality, super greens supplements can help promote good gut bacteria growth as they contain a specific type of sugar.
A significant finding regarding how bacteria feed on sugar molecules found in dark greens could be the rosetta stone to define just how exactly helpful bacteria shield and strengthen our gut microbiome.
These data points suggest that consuming dark leafy greens is necessary for supporting good bacteria and their ability to establish their place in the gut.
The previously unknown sugar was identified by researchers in Melbourne, Australia, and is now known as “sugar sulfoquinovose” or SQ; These SQs are found in abundance in dark leafy greens and greens powder supplements.
An impressive statistic is that these dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach produce SQ on a massive scale worldwide, and the amount is equivalent to the total iron ore annually produced worldwide.
Dr. Goddard-Borger, one of the lead researchers, stated the finding could promote the increase of ‘healthy’ gut bacteria. “Every time we eat leafy green vegetables, we consume significant amounts of SQ sugars, which are used as an energy source by good gut bacteria,”
Some of these foods are kale, spinach, blackberries, and sweet potatoes, and not only do they support a healthy gut microbiome, but they also help support cognitive brain function and boost energy levels.
Polyphenol-rich foods, such as blackberries and purple sweet potatoes, increase the anti-inflammatory gut bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila. The metabolites of Akkermansia support a healthy brain and metabolism.
Green Tea And Coffee
Yep, excellent news for those of you who enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Due to the chlorogenic acid found in coffee, the gut bacteria is strengthened; it’s one of the preeminent compounds found in coffee.
If you prefer a hot cup of tea rather than coffee, we have good news for you too. Tea contains numerous phytochemicals that hinder the increase and growth of harmful gut pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli.
Natural health care practitioners have utilized kimchi and kombucha foods for hundreds of years in many Asian countries like Korea and Japan. In recent years these types of “fermented Food” have become increasingly popular in the West for their digestive health benefits.
Other foods such as kefir and yogurt are also an excellent way to add tasty probiotics to your meal. However, many people are lactose intolerant, so take this into consideration when choosing these kinds of fermented foods.
Avoiding harmful foods is probably one of the best strategies to help keep your gut microbiome healthy and safe from attack by destructive pathogens.
Removing foods like refined carbohydrates and oils that have been made through industrial processing has an incredibly positive impact on your gut microbiome.
Another well-known destructive compound is Gluten. In recent years many people have developed gluten intolerance, and it has been shown to harm the microbiome.
Undertaking an “elimination diet” is the best way to identify foods that may be causing you harm.
Get Adequate Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is absolutely paramount to supporting your gut microbiome and overall health. Between 7-9 hours a night in a totally dark room and be sure to limit the use of electronic devices 1-2 hours before bed.
Regular daily exercises such as cycling or walking have been linked to accentuating the gut microbiota and enhance helpful microbes developing a broad variety (10). HIIT (high-intensity interval training ) is an excellent option as you only need to put aside 15-20 minutes each day to really get the blood pumping.
Interestingly enough, early research on endurance training shows adverse long-term effects on the gut microbiome through long term oxidative anxiety.
A significant finding is that when physical activity stops, the beneficial effects of training reverts the microbiome back into a negative state. This would suggest that regular daily exercise is needed to maintain a healthy gut.
However, be very careful not to overtrain, as this can lead to debilitating conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The big takeaway here is that nutrition plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. By adding foods rich in fiber and polyphenols, it helps mitigate the harmful bacteria that are always trying to enter and destroy the good bacteria in the gut.
Avoiding the “Standard Western Diet” is essential as it’s been shown to have harmful effects on health and promote diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Avoiding sugars, refined carbohydrates, and limiting alcohol consumption can also help maintain gut health.
Eating foods high in soluble fiber and polyphenols is essential. Some of these foods are:
- Super green supplements
- Green beans
- Eggplant and many, many more
The information provided in this article is an excellent starting point but finding out what works for you will require some time and experimentation.
Elimination diets are an ideal way to identify foods that might be causing you adverse effects; be sure to keep a diary, though, to track the foods you’re eating or eliminating.
Consider seeking advice from qualified health professionals like a nutritionist or clinical dietician. These professionals are skilled and equipped to help with a range of health problems.
They can provide you with support and accountability, which can be very helpful when trying to make dietary and lifestyle changes.