15 Mar How To Support Your Microbiome For Optimal Metabolic Function & Weight
There are 3 key areas to address together if you want to balance your metabolism, increase your energy and get to your optimal weight; hormones, digestion and inflammation.
These three make up what I call the Wellness Trinity. I consider them a trinity because they’re all intertwined. Meaning, one effects the other. If you have digestion issues, you’ll have inflammation. If you have inflammation, you’ll have hormone issues and your digestion will be impaired too. So, these three key factors all need to be addressed at the same time. These processes do not happen in isolation, so in order to correct them, they must be done at the same time or you’ll end up going in circles with either short-term results or no results at all. Learn more about the Wellness Trinity here.
In this post, we’ll address the some of the key factors that can help support your digestion. Let’s go!
The state of the digestive system significantly impacts the health of the whole body. And the health of the digestive system is largely connected to quality of trillions of microbes in the gut that help break down food, fight pathogens, enhance immune function and control metabolism. These bacteria and microorganisms in the digestive tract are called the microbiome. Learn more about digestion and how it works here.
The microbiome is a thriving community of bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa in the gut that play a huge factor in digestion, your immune system, mood and perhaps surprisingly, the makeup of your microbiome can affect your weight.
DOES YOUR MICROBIOME NEED SOME ATTENTION
Here are some common signs that you don’t have enough probiotics:
- digestive problems (gas, bloating, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, heart burn)
- allergies and/or food sensitivities
- frequent colds and flus
- autoimmune diseases
- weak immune system
- thyroid issues
- skin issues
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR MICROBIOME
Prebiotics feed the probiotics (the good bacteria). They’re indigestible parts of food that ferment in the gut. Since your body doesn’t digest these plant fibers, they travel to your lower digestive tract to be a food source for the healthy bacteria in your gut.
SOURCES OF PREBIOTICS
Foods that contain specific dietary fiber are excellent sources of prebiotics! Some common pantry items that are also the most supportive prebiotics include:
Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that help keep your microbiome working well and in balance. This good bacteria helps you in many ways, including fighting off bad bacteria and fungus in the gut when there’s too much. They also reduce inflammation. Since the immune system kills off the stuff that shouldn’t be there through inflammation, the gut is a very common source of inflammation. This is common in food allergies – when people are reacting to foods that they shouldn’t, the immune system is inadvertently attacking the offending food, and that causes inflammation.
Probiotics have been shown to help heal the gut, and therefore help reduce inflammation.
SOURCES OF PROBIOTICS
To help support healthy gut bacteria, consider eating foods like:
- Fermented Foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, pickles, olives, kimchi, tempeh and miso
- Raw Cheese unpasteurized goat, sheep and cow
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Fiber is the part of plant foods that our bodies can’t breakdown, digest or absorb. If you’re like most North Americans, you are likely getting about 10 – 15 grams of fiber per day. A low-fiber diet can result in feeling sluggish, constipation, irregular bowel movements, toxicity, inflammation, a higher risk of cancer as well as higher estrogen levels. So, aim to get 30 – 40 grams of fiber per day to reduce inflammation, get to a healthy body weight and remove toxins effectively.
It’s needed to support:
- Elimination, bowel regularity
- Normal cholesterol level
- Normal blood sugar levels
- Feeling full
- Healthy weight
SOURCES OF FIBER
Great sources can be found in:
- flax seeds
- whole grains
- psyllium husks
Water is essential for good health, overall and staying hydrated is a simple way to promote a healthy gut. Water helps promote digestion by breaking down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Drinking ample amount of water has been shown to have a positive effect on the mucosal lining of the intestinal tract, as well as on the balance of good bacteria in the gut.
Aim to drink between 2 – 3 litres of water a day.
If you have digestive issues, inflammation or metabolic issues, you really want to look at the state of your gut. Adding prebiotics that feed the good bacteria, plus probiotics, ample fiber and sufficient water to your diet will be a great place to start.
While foods are a great way to support healthy gut bacteria, sometimes you may need a more therapeutic approach. In this case, high dose therapeutic grade supplementation may be required. Be sure to talk to your natural health care provider to see what strains would work best for you. If you’d like to see that brands that I commonly use and recommend, you can find them here.
You can also address and limit the foods may be causing inflammation in your body. This can be done by tracking what you eat with a food diary and assessing adverse reactions during the same time frame. Sadly, it can take up to four days for symptoms to surface after ingesting foods that you’re sensitive to, so having a food sensitivity test done may be a more direct approach to find the offenders. Talk to your health care provider to arrange getting a Food Intolerance Test done or contact me to arrange one for you – here’s an overview of what’s involved in Food Intolerance Testing.
If you’re taking medications, have used antibiotics or oil of oregano, consult your health care provider to see how they might impact your microbiome.
And learn more about cleansing to start reducing what can be contributing to impairing your gut health. Your gut, hormones and metabolism will love you for doing an annual detox.
Much love and happy digesting,