Heal Your Gut With Your Food!

Prebiotics are what FEED our Probiotics which then produce a vast array of chemicals called Postbiotics.

Postbiotics is a term that refers to the enormous array of compounds that are produced by the metabolic activity of your probiotic bacteria. These probiotic-produced postbiotic compounds play extremely important roles in the regulation of health and in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome as well as virtually every system of our body.

Diversity & Postbiotics: Different bacteria produce different kinds of metabolites. This is why diversity, meaning many different kinds of probiotic bacteria equates to a healthier microbiome, and better health for the individual.

Postbiotic compounds are the key regulators of gastrointestinal health. Probiotic bacteria produce numerous classes of postbiotic compounds such as:

1. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAS): These compounds are an important part of the immune system and they optimize the acid/base balance in the GI track.

2. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are an important part of the immune system. AMPs are natural antibiotics that suppress the growth of bad bacteria in the microbiome.

3. Nutrients including B-vitamins, vitamin K and numerous amino acids.

4. Hydrogen peroxide, which suppresses the growth of candida and other yeasts.

5. Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes (CAZymes), which allow probiotic bacteria to digest fibers to produce postbiotic compounds.

6. Signaling agents related to appetite, satiety and gut motility.

7. Multiple immune signaling chemicals that can reduce and modulate the immune system away from autoimmunity and food allergy/sensitivity.

8. Signaling agents that decrease inflammation locally and systemically.

9. Signaling agents and chemicals that moderate oral tolerance away from food allergy and or sensitivity.

10. Help restore the integrity of the intestinal mucosal membrane, that is, assist in healing what is known as ‘leaky gut’ or intestinal hyper-permeability.

11. Postbiotics also themselves promote a diverse microbiome and assist in suppressing ‘bad’ gut inhabitants, including bacterial, fungal and parasitic inhabitants and promoting the ‘good’ bacteria and beneficial yeasts.

12. And…..experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of postbiotic compounds that have yet to be discovered.

The term for an unhealthy microbiome is dysbiosis, which often has symptoms of pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation…however, it can often be asymptomatic. Many people take probiotics with the goal of transforming a pathological microbiome into a healthy microbiome. But just taking probiotics is only addressing a small part of the problem. To achieve your goal is likely only to be accomplished if you work to transform the intestinal environment by supplying prebiotics along with the probiotics and some postbiotics…all at the same time.

And, while taking a probiotic is a great idea, you cannot restore or maintain microbial gut diversity with probiotics. Prebiotic powders can be a great help, however, this is not a viable long term solution nor can it adequately replace the incredible and vast array of food related prebiotics that ensure a diverse microbiome. This can only be done with foods that feed and nurture the gut microbiome, and that is the fiber found predominantly in vegetables.

Prebiotics (mostly derived from a very diverse vegetable intake) are the fertilizer that allows our probiotics to become healthy and diverse, to produce the postbiotics that make us healthy. If we consume the same 6 to 12 foods like the average person, then we cannot have a diverse microbiome that supplies a rich variety of postbiotics.

The key is to consume an array of 8 to 12 different vegetables every day, and these vegetables should be ones that you do not normally consume, with this diverse array changing out about once a month. Postbiotics are the compounds that do the “work” of reestablishing a healthy intestinal tract and a healthy microbiome, and increasing overall health, and as I said, are dependent upon a variable prebiotic vegetable fiber intake. For a great gut, just rotate your crops!!

Easy Steps To A Diverse Microbiome:

1. Go to the store (organic is best), and pick out 8 to 12 vegetables that you do not normally consume. This could be anything such as: Jerusalem Artichoke; Bok Choy; Turnip and turnip greens; Collards; Chard; Parsnip; Kale (many different types); Mustard greens; Cabbage (lots of different types); Daikon radishes; Celery; Cucumbers; Peppers; All kinds of different greens including arugula or romaine etc.; just make sure that every 30 days you pick out a new and different group of vegetables…it can be anything, including sprouts.

2. You can either add a little bit of all of them to your salad, or make a smoothie by taking a bit of each of your 8 to 12 vegetables, and put them into a NutriBullet or VitaMix or Ninja blender, with a bit of water, and use enough veggies to make about a 6 to 8 ounce smoothie. Do this twice a day. These will be pretty thick, so when you ‘drink’ them, spend a bit of time actually chewing them to make sure you have started the digestive process properly, or you may find yourself uncomfortable with some gas.

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