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Follow your Gut: The Microbiome

How many times have you been told to listen your gut? With the most current research

there might be some truth to this piece of advice. First determined by our DNA, then our diet and environment, found in our large and small intestines are trillions of microorganisms supporting the daily functions of the human body. For the most part, these microorganisms live in a symbiotic relationship with our bodies where both are able to benefit from each other.

According to Harvard Medical School, the microbiome “...​stimulate the immune system, break down potentially toxic food compounds, and synthesize certain vitamins and amino acids, [2] including the B vitamins and vitamin K.” Also, if harmful organisms enter the body, a healthy microbiome is able to fight and protect against these pathogenic organisms.

How do you maintain a healthy microbiome? The answer is one you’ve heard time and time again; a well-rounded diet of plant based foods and whole grains will create an environment where your microbiome will thrive. This is because a diet that is based in whole grains and fruits and vegetables is high in fiber and prebiotics. Prebiotics feed the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Probiotics can add healthful bacteria to your microbiome.

Foods rich in prebiotics:

- onions

- leeks

- banana

- artichokes

- whole grains

Foods rich in probiotics:

- yogurt

- aged cheese

- sauerkraut

- tempeh

- kefir products

If you’re curious about the microbiome check out this website:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/​

If you want to change your diet to improve your microbiome and overall health, be sure to consult with your doctor and registered dietician.

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

330 Brookline Ave

Boston, MA 02215

wellpowered@bidmc.harvard.edu

Tel: 617-735-2518

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