The optimizing microbiome teleconference on Saturday, December 7, raised the bar for the health of LivingTheCRWay members. For the first time, we were able to look at results from American Gut Health.
Participants could see the concentrations of microbial families in the analysis and how they compare to other people. And we were able to drill down further and consider microbial taxa and their potential effect on health.
Some of these microbes you might like to have living inside of you. However others were questionable – possibly made powerful by breeding in places like intensive care units in hospitals. The discussion included how one might acquire microbes like this and what can be done to minimize their presence – without resorting to the potentially dangerous effects of antibiotics.
We now know that certain fibers can affect microbial balance positively, and already that has changed how we may evaluate certain foods. For example, consider brown rice. Twenty years ago, given its nutrient density, it was recommended as part of the diet of a healthy calorie restrictor. We know now that not only does it raise glucose levels too high, but the starch it contains doesn’t do a lot to affect gut microbes positively.
Contrast it with hulled barley: Studies show that it significantly increases short-chain fatty acids, which improves the integrity of gut lining, may protect against colon cancer and that it positively affects the gut
microbial balance. Thus, we no longer think of nutrient density as being of prime importance but, rather: How food affects the body’s physiology and in this case the positive effects on gut health are more important.
Why is this so important to longevity overall? As you probably know, everything from HIV to the flu, counts on healthy stem cells to work. And it is important not to weaken your immunity by using up vital stem cells to fight a less than optimal gut microbiome.