Gut restoration program can improve digestion and cognition; here's how one can adopt microbiome diet

The world we live in is full of microorganisms, so it’s natural that our body is home to some of them too

Myupchar December 10, 2020 19:17:25 IST
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Gut restoration program can improve digestion and cognition; here's how one can adopt microbiome diet

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The world we live in is full of microorganisms, so it’s natural that our body is home to some of them too. Human bodies carry millions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses which together create a microbiome, especially in the guts or intestines. While many of these microorganisms are associated with diseases, the majority of the ones your gut naturally supports are actually crucial for the proper functioning of the digestive system, the immune system, and even the nervous system.

So, keeping your gut microbiome thriving and healthy is very important for key body functions and overall health. However, there are situations where the gut microbiome can be jeopardized and its balance disrupted, which can have immense adverse effects on your health.

The effects of gut microbiota dysbiosis

A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018 reveals that this disruption in the gut microbiota is called dysbiosis, and the condition is linked to intestinal illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Moreover, the study shows that dysbiosis can also cause other issues like obesity, metabolic disorder, cardiovascular syndrome, allergies, and asthma.

A 2019 study published in Nutrients shows that gut microbiota dysbiosis is now also linked to colorectal cancer, diabetes and even neurological disorders. The study suggests that there are reciprocal interactions between gut microbiota and the brain - popularly known as the gut-brain axis - and changes in this interaction due to dysbiosis can possibly trigger the onset of neurological issues. Overall, studies indicate that dysbiosis is a condition that can affect your health and quality of life immensely and should be prevented at all costs.

A diet to deal with dysbiosis?

Diet is one of the key methods through which your gut microbiome can be regulated, so it makes sense that there are diets devised by nutritionists over the years that can tackle dysbiosis effectively. Following such a diet is even more important now, says Akanksha Mishra, a Nutrition and Wellness Expert associated with myUpchar, because the modern diet also includes a lot more junk food. “Junk food is rich in simple carbohydrates, refined sugar, bad quality fat, excessive amounts of sodium and preservatives,” she says. “These cause a classic example of an imbalanced diet which leads to various health issues including impaired gut health because these foods have low amounts of nutrients, fiber, and water content. Clearly, this does not create a healthy environment for gut bacteria, and adopting changes to restore the gut microbiome becomes important.”

Mishra isn’t the only nutritionist advising the use of gut restoration diets to ensure the wellbeing of the intestinal tracts. In the 2014 book Natural Solutions for Digestive Health, researchers recommend a diet that cuts off allergenic and inflammatory foods and includes probiotics and prebiotics to repair the lining of the entire gastrointestinal system, including the stomach. This book says that following a gut restoration diet can also help prevent skin issues including acne, rashes, dermatitis, and eczema since the skin is a mirror for the digestive system.

How to adopt a gut restoration diet

More prominently, Dr Raphel Kellman (an American doctor who is reportedly a pioneer in “microbiome medicine”) released his book called The Microbiome Diet in 2014, which devised a diet that has gained popularity in recent years. Kellman’s diet is a three-phased program that claims to help you lose weight while also restoring your gut microbiome. His microbiome diet is also based on the removal of toxic foods, the inclusion of gut-friendly foods and a long maintenance period where these foods can make an effective change in your health status.

Whether you have a digestive issue or not, maintaining your gut health is very important. The best way to go about adopting a gut restoration diet, Mishra says, is to consult a nutritionist who can prepare a diet plan according to your specific health issues and needs. She also suggests the tips that can get you started on your journey to a perfectly happy and healthy gut microbiome:

  • Add prebiotic and probiotic foods to your diet to create a proper balance between your stomach and gut bacteria. Try to add a few cultured foods to your daily diets such as curd, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, and kimchi.
  • Add different types of millets such as pearl millet, finger millet, sorghum, steel-cut oats to increase the number of complex carbs and fiber in your diet.
  • You can add a teaspoon of isabgol or psyllium husk to your bedtime milk.
  • Add seasonal fruits and vegetables for fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, and water.
  • Drink two to four liters of water daily. You can also drink buttermilk, detox water, juice, lemonade, herbal tea or green tea.
  • Choose a home-cooked breakfast instead of ready-to-eat cereal to avoid a harmful environment for your gut bacteria.
  • Try to add fermented foods to your regular diet. It helps to create a healthy balance between gut microbes. So take idli, dosa, dhokla, kadhi, fermented rice regularly to maintain this healthy balance.

For more information, read our article on How to improve digestion

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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