What is Microbiome and why is it important to our health? I put these questions to my esteemed colleague, Lori Shore-Mouratoff, MD, at Cornerstone Integrative Medicine Clinic in Oakland, CA. This is what she shared with me:
Our body is host to trillions of bacteria, yeast and viruses that make up our microbiome. These organisms are responsible for helping us utilize and make vitamins, detoxify our bodies and maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining to prevent food sensitivities. Poor food choices, medications, stress, and lack of sleep can create an imbalance in the composition of these organisms causing gastrointestinal symptoms, joint pain, eczema, hormonal imbalance, obesity and brain fog.
Clearly, improving the health of your microbiome is vital to your well-being! Below are 5 lifestyle hacks Dr. Lori Shore-Mouratoff recommended :
1. Eat prebiotics that support favorable organisms
Inulin-type fructans modulate appetite, improve inflammatory bowel diseases, decrease colon cancer risk, increase absorption of minerals and vitamins and affect lipid metabolism by supporting the population and function of bifidobacteria and butyrate .
Foods containing inulin-type fructans for gut health:
Butyrate is an essential metabolite in the human colon, responsible for maintenance of the gut barrier, with immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.
Foods that support butyrate forming bacteria in your colon:
|Whole Grains: Brown rice, whole gluten free oats, barley, rye, quinoa, buckwheat|
|Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, adzuki beans|
|Fruits and Vegetables: Leafy greens, apples, kiwi, berries, bananas, citrus|
2. Increase polyphenols in your food plan
Polyphenols increase the amount of healthy bacteria in the gut, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria and also inhibit growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Polyphenol Rich Foods:
|Black elderberry||Ground flax seeds (Fresh)||Pecans|
|Black currant||Dark Chocolate||Prunes|
|Globe artichoke heads||Black Tea||Peach|
|Coffee||Green Tea||Green Olives|
|Plum||Black Olives||Red Chicory|
3. Eat fermented food everyday
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics and good bacteria . Try to include them in your meals daily!
4. Avoid the items that are harmful to beneficial bacteria
- Trans fat, a.k.a partially hydrogenated oil
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food additives
- Processed food
- Pesticides and chemicals
5. Reduce Stress
- Try Restorative Exercises like Yoga, QiGong and TaiChi.
- Start a meditation practice
- Deep breathing: rub a drop of cedarwood, lavender or chamomile essential oils on your hands then inhale
- Get enough sleep
- Take a walk outside in nature
- Increase your social connections
- Engage in your community