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Increasing evidence has shown that the integrity of your gut microbiome has been linked to the health of your brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and development of cancer. Having a healthy gut microbiome has even been shown to help reduce food cravings, especially sugar. To keep your gut healthy, there are many lifestyle modifications that can be implemented.
Getting enough sleep and reducing stress are important for cultivating a healthy gut microbiome. In this article, Attune Health nutritionist and research associate Natalie Fortune wanted to break down different dietary habits, as well as specific foods and nutrients that are important.
FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms found in the gut. Probiotics in the form of supplements or food are often needed to help reestablish a balanced gut flora after taking antibiotics. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, miso, and tempeh are good sources of probiotics.
Foods that contain a high amount of soluble fiber foods are important because the soluble fibers known as prebiotics feed the good bugs. Prebiotics are food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms already in the colon. Prebiotics are available in many foods that contain a fiber called inulin. Foods containing inulin include: artichokes, garlic, leeks, onion, chicory, tofu, dandelion greens, and other soy products. You can also find inulin as a supplement. A diet high in fiber has been shown to contribute tremendously to a healthy gut microbiome.
Another important aspect of having a healthy microbiome is having a healthy lining of the GI tract. The GI tract can repair itself, but it requires specific nutrients to support this process, such as zinc, vitamins A, C, and E, fish oil, and the amino acid L- glutamine. The gastrointestinal tract is by far the greatest user of L-glutamine in the body; the cells in the intestine use L-glutamine as their principal metabolic fuel.
A critical nutrient for your small intestines is butyric acid, which is a short-chain fatty acid that supports the health and healing of cells in the small and large intestines. It also serves the natural processes of aerobic energy metabolism. Clarified Butter is a rich source of butyric acid. Short-chain fatty acids have also been associated with helping to maintain healthy blood lipid and sugar levels.
Colostrum can be taken as a supplement. It has immune factors that can help balance and support a healthy immune system, which, in turn, can support a healthy microbiome. Another helpful nutrient for your intestines is zinc carnosine. Zinc carnosine is a specific chelate of zinc that has demonstrated prevention of stress-induced ulcers.
Supplements including oil of oregano and berberine can also help decrease the amount of harmful bacteria in your intestines, keeping your microbiome balanced.
Healthy habits include chewing your food thoroughly and eating your meals more slowly. These can help promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients. This may help you reduce digestive discomfort and maintain a healthy gut. Drinking plenty of water has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on the lining of the intestines, as well as on the balance of good bacteria in the gut.
Probably the most beneficial thing you can do for your microbiome is to reduce/eliminate processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods. The removal of these foods will not only help with your microbiome, it will also help with all aspects of health, including preventing chronic diseases!