Two weeks ago (#320) I discussed how our gut microbiome (the bacteria in our intestines) affects our brain health, specifically mood disorders like depression; diabetes and obesity; and neurological disorders like autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, MS and Alzheimer’s. I ended by hinting that changing our diets can quickly change our gut microbiome and reduce the risk of these conditions.
How can we best do this?
1. First, avoid unnecessary antibiotics.
2. Restrict sugar, especially fructose, which promotes dysbiosis (growth of unhealthy bacteria).
3. Replace processed foods with whole raw foods wherever possible.
4. Add probiotic foods to your diet – fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, and kombucha tea. These must be unpasteurized and preferably home-grown. I’m looking for sources of starter cultures for these foods – can anyone help me out here?
5. Eat plenty of prebiotic foods which provide fiber for the good bacteria to thrive on. Whole, raw vegetables are best, as cooking destroys some of the fiber. Good sources are:
• Jicama, chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke contain inulin, an excellent prebiotic fiber
• dandelion greens, asparagus
• cooked yams, sweet potatoes, potato skins
• root veggies (may be cooked): carrots, turnips, parsnips
• raw onions, leeks, garlic
• cooked legumes: beans, peas, lentils, chick peas
• raw or cooked cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower
• avocado, apples, and bananas
• wheat bran, soaked or cooked whole wheat.
If you make a good effort to make some of these changes, you should notice an improvement in your digestive (and mental) health within a few weeks. Caution – some of these changes, like introducing more legumes and cabbage, need to be made gradually.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.