According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and other ancient healing modalities, all diseases start in the gut. Therefore, it does seem logical to assume that good health also begins there. And indeed, that is what modern research is proving to us through studies into our gut microbiome and the amazing things the ecosystem in our belly can do for us, provided that we nourish it with the right foods and good habits.
What is the gut microbiome?
The term refers to the billions of microorganisms living in our intestines. And each of our gut microbiomes has about 200 different types of microbes that co-exist together, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and archaea (single-cell organisms that started life on earth billions of years ago.)
And since these tiny organisms are a part of us, what we eat also feeds and nourishes them. In other words, we do not only feed "us"; we also feed "them!"
In the recent few years, more and more scientific studies have found direct links between our gut microbiome and health issues, such as
- cognitive function
- endocrine disorders
- gastrointestinal disorders
- cardiovascular health
A diverse and abundant community of microbes in your gut correlates with better health. So, with that in mind, here are three tips to elevate your gut:
Eat/drink a variety of fermented foods and beverages that contain probiotics:
#2 Say NO to sugar:
A collaborative study done by Yale University and the National Institutes of Health has found that high consumption of sucrose and fructose could affect the ecosystem of our gut microbiome.
Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, found in many commercially produced foods and beverages, are made of sucrose and fructose.
A diet high in processed food and added sugar can eliminate the beneficial bacteria in the human gut. The resulting imbalance can cause increased cravings for sugar, which further damage the gut.
An unhealthy amount of unrefined sugar, especially high-fructose corn syrup, leads to inflammation in the body. This can lead to other diseases, including certain types of cancer.
Get Good Sleep
The quality of your sleep and the health of your gut microbiome are linked. Poor sleep can create poor conditions for your gut, while poor digestive health can cause issues that lead to insomnia and other sleep problems.
Scientific research on this gets rather complicated. However, the quick takeaway here is that good-quality sleep may increase the prevalence of several beneficial strains of microbes that assist us in digestion, healthy weight maintenance, and cognition.
So, what is considered "good quality" sleep? Please visit this recommendation from WebMD:
How Much Sleep Do I need?
Groves, M. (2022, October 19). Sucrose vs. Glucose vs. Fructose: What’s the Difference? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sucrose-glucose-fructose
Farah, T. (2022, March 3). The Microbiome Impacts Sleep Quality, and Vice Versa. Discover Magazine. https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/the-microbiome-impacts-sleep-quality-and-vice-versa
Smith RP, Easson C, Lyle SM, Kapoor R, Donnelly CP, Davidson EJ, Parikh E, Lopez JV, Tartar JL. Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 7;14(10):e0222394. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222394. PMID: 31589627; PMCID: PMC6779243.
Vivekanandarajah, S. (2019, July 26). How too much Sugar Affects the Gut Microbiome. Dr. Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah. https://sydneygastroenterologist.com.au/blog/how-too-much-sugar-affects-the-gut-microbiome/