By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
October 2, 2017
- Your health lives in your gut
- Fiber-rich diet associated with health and longevity
- Get your fiber on!
As a health-conscious individual, you do everything you can to protect your health. You eat foods and take part in activities that support your heart, ward off cancer, slash your chances of diabetes and help maintain healthy weight.
But how much thought do you give to your gut?
This little community of microbes contains 100 times more genes than your own human genome. And I’ll tell you here and now… it has a profound effect on every aspect of your health.
Negative changes in the delicate environment of your gut microbiome are associated with poor health. This includes things like high blood pressure, plaque build-up in the arteries, heart failure, kidney disease, diabetes, depression and many other health disorders.
This is a big problem, because today it’s harder than ever before to maintain a healthy microbiome. Our food supply is tainted with foods that are processed, allergenic, genetically altered and loaded with artificial ingredients.
This is not how we’re meant to eat.
Fiber-Rich Diet Associated with Health and Longevity
Just recently, an anthropologist and his teams studied a group of people – the Hadza – who still adhere to the traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our ancestors. These folks have a low incidence of modern-day diseases and aren’t plagued with concerns such as IBS, Crohn’s disease or colon cancer.
When they analyzed the gut bacteria of these hunter-gatherers, guess what they learned?
The Hadza have considerably more diverse species of microbes in their gut that people living in modern Western countries!
The research team attributes much of the Hadza’s healthy and diverse microbiome to a fiber-rich diet. But they aren’t getting their fiber from a box of Cheerios, a slice of whole wheat bread or a glass of Metamucil.
Instead, their foods are limited to fresh baobab fruit, berries, tubers, wild honey and during dry season, small and large game.
This natural, high-fiber diet may contribute to the substantial differences between the Hadza’s gut microbiome (and health status!) compared to people in modern-day industrialized countries.
You don’t have to have to eat like a Hadza to improve that balance of healthy microbes in your gut. But you do need to eat a good variety of beneficial fiber on a daily basis.
Get Your Fiber On
Unfortunately many people think their best source of fiber is grains. This is not a good choice. Your body is not designed for grains. They could even be responsible for damaging the lining of your gut and contributing to leaky gut syndrome.
So instead of focusing on grains, mix things up with quality, quantity and variety. For example…
- Choose a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Eat apples and walnuts together as a snack.
- Try a good lentil soup on a cool day.
- Sautee some asparagus in olive oil and throw in some pine nuts and garlic or toss some pistachios in with your Brussels spouts.
- Throw some almonds in with fruits or vegetables for a crunchy “fiber-filled” side dish.
This variety can provide you with all of the healthy fibers that feed your “good” gut microbes. And those “good” microbes just might protect your heart, lower your chances of certain types of cancer, boost your mood, keep you thinner and help you live a little longer.
Tang WH, et al. Gut Microbiota in Cardiovascular Health and Disease. Circ Res. 2017 Mar 31;120(7):1183-1196.
Smits SA, et al. Seasonal cycling in the gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania. Science. 2017 Aug 25;357(6353):802-806.
Slavin J. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr; 5(4): 1417–1435.