Monday, October 06, 2014

your gut bacteria and you

summary: eat more veggies and a greater variety of them so that your microbiome is healthy. else your bacteria will start eating your intestines.

sent from samsung galaxy note, so please excuse brevity

1 comment:

Pagan said...

Excerpts from the article for those have access (it is free!):

“Our greatest health crisis is not the lack of organic food, it is the breathtaking drop in the quantity and diversity of dietary fibre, which has given us the most alkaline guts in human history.”

Because of this change in pH, he says, the door is wide open to a wide array of pathogens that were formerly kept in check by the acidic state of the colon. Some contend that this explains the rise in such unexplained illnesses as irritable bowel syndrome.

According to the British Nutrition Foundation the daily recommended intake of fibre is just 18 grams a day. Nonetheless most people in the UK consume less than that amount. But according to Mr Leach, hunter-gatherers in Africa often get more than 100 grams a day of fibre and, as a result, have a much more diverse microbiome than people eating a western diet.

More importantly, people in the west have too little diversity in their vegetable diet. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Americans eat just five or less types of vegetables a week, mainly potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. But each vegetable you eat feeds a different kind of gut bacteria, so the more the better.

The bacteria in the gut break down fibre into important short-chain fatty acids. As a result, the colon can provide 10-15 per cent of the energy needs of the body. More importantly, when you don’t feed the gut bacteria, “the gut bacteria starts to eat you”, Mr Leach says, eroding the mucosal lining of the colon.

A number of organisations, such as Mr Leach’s own American Gut project and the commercial venture uBiome, offer an analysis of the bacteria in your gut for about $100.

He suggests the recipe for a healthier gut is mainly to eat a wide variety of vegetables and get the most dietary fibre you can. Strangely, the best part for the bacteria in your gut is the bits you normally throw away, such as the ends of leeks and asparagus.