As a naturopathic doctor, I see lots of people who are overweight, tired, and sick. Instead of offering these people pills or surgery, I give them this advice: Start treating your gut right! Your gut contains an entire ecosystem of trillions of microbes, called your microbiome. (As I like to say, you’re a big bag of bugs.) When you have healthy gut microbiome, you have a rock-solid gut. When it’s not, you’re in big trouble. Here’s why:
- Eighty percent of your immune system is in your gut, and your gut microbiome play a huge role in modulating this system. When your immune system is working correctly, it protects you from infection without going haywire and causing autoimmune problems.
- Your gut microbiome help digest your food. When they’re doing their job right, you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and energetic. When they aren’t, you suffer from gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- When your microbiome is unhealthy, it becomes inflamed. Eventually, the damage caused by this inflammation leads to a “leaky gut,” allowing toxins and undigested food particles to escape into your bloodstream. This sends your immune system into hyperdrive, causing chronic, system-wide inflammation—like a forest fire that never goes out—and that makes you fat and sick. Heal this inflammation, and you’ll get slimmer, younger, and healthier.
Clearly, in order to be your best, you need to treat your gut right. And today, I want to focus on three powerful tools that can help you do this: probiotics, prebiotics, and anti-inflammatory superfoods.
First, let’s talk about probiotics and prebiotics. Think of probiotics as the “seeds” in the garden of your microbiome, and prebiotics as the healthy soil that they thrive in. Here’s a closer look at each one.
- Probiotics are foods or supplements containing live, beneficial microbes that will settle happily into your ecosystem, helping to build a diverse and well-balanced microbiome. Probiotic foods include (Be sure to buy unpasteurized sauerkraut and pickles; you’ll find them in the refrigerated section in your store.):
- coconut kefir.
- Prebiotics are foods or supplements high in the soluble fiber that your gut microbes love to eat. Prebiotic foods include:
- unripe bananas
- chicory root
- Jerusalem artichokes.
When you eat probiotic and prebiotic foods—preferably together, because they work synergistically—you build a vibrant, happy ecosystem. The prebiotics supply your good gut bugs with nourishing food, the probiotics boost their population, and you get a glowing gut that keeps you healthy from head to toe.
If you don’t get plenty of probiotic and prebiotic foods in your diet, I strongly recommend taking supplements that contain them. Also, load up on probiotics and prebiotics both during and after any course of antibiotics, which can absolutely nuke your microbiome.
When you feed your gut probiotics and prebiotics, you’ll lay the foundation for a super-healthy gut microbiome. To make it even healthier, eat anti-inflammatory foods that soothe and heal your gut, making it a better environment for your hardworking microbes. Here are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods:
- bone broth
- curry powder
- fatty fish
- green and leafy vegetables
- cruciferous vegetables
- green tea
When you combine the power of prebiotics, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory foods, your microbiome will keep getting stronger and healthier. As a result, you’ll lose weight, your hair will get shinier, your skin will look smoother and younger, and you’ll feel fantastic. So pamper that gut—you’ll love the results!
Keep thinking Big and Living BOLD!