Why is everyone talking about the gut?!
Every few years, the spotlight on health and wellness shifts based on what the scientific community and medical research is focusing on. For a long time, inflammation was one of those buzzwords and I was helping clients focus on an anti-inflammatory diet and which foods to focus on increasing. The last couple years, we’ve started to realize inflammation is just the tip of the iceberg and as we’ve started to dig a little deeper, we’re starting to learn how important the gut microbiome is in regulating that inflammation and more importantly, overall health and wellness.
Go to instagram or google or any “health/nutrition” website and the gut is probably going to top the list of hashtags or entries. While there’s a lot of good information out there, just like everything else, you’re also going to find a lot of misinformation. So today, we’re just going to unpack what the microbiome is and 1 easy way to start taking care of it!
When you hear the word “gut” and “gut microbiome,” we are talking about the long hollow tube that connects our mouth to our other end (think esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, anus) and all the trillions of microrganisms that live there (think bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses). We literally have more bacterial DNA in our bodies than human DNA-think about 10:1 ratio. Some experts think if we dumped out all the microorganisms in our body-they would amount to about 4 pounds-which is pretty serious once you consider they are all completely microscopic. While bacteria live all along the gut, the colon is the most widely populated and so often times we think of this organ when we refer to the gut.
While we’ve known bacteria and other microorganisms live in our bodies, it is only within the last couple decades or so where research has started to unpack just how important it is in regulating our overall health. Like we mentioned above, trillions of bacteria, yeast and other crazy things live in our guts and just like in real life-there, are good guys and bad guys, and normally they co-exist. When bad guys start to outnumber the good guys, called dysbiosis, we can see changes in our health, and not just changes on our gastrointestinal health (stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation, reflux, etc) but overall health. We now know, dysbiosis can be linked to autoimmune diseases, food sensitivities/allergies, obesity, chronic fatigue and inflammation amongst many many others!
While there are many things we can do to start taking care of our guts, one of the absolute best things you can start doing is.. Eat More Plants!!!
We all know fruits and vegetables are healthy and we could all probably use a little bit more in our diets, but they are also the food our good gut bacteria love the most!! They contain fibers that are not digested or absorbed in our small intestines but literally eaten by the bacteria in our large intestine. When we eat more plant foods, we are making sure we are feeding the “good guys” and starving the “bad guys.” Fiber also helps control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, aids in weight loss and keeps us full for longer-so overall this is a win-win!!! Y’all-this doesn’t mean going vegetarian or vegan or giving up your favorite foods- we can incorporate more plant foods every single day!! See some options and ideas below:
- Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Tomato
- Berries in Yogurt
- Hamburger loaded up with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions
- Zucchini Noodles instead of pasta noodles
- Celery and Baby Carrots with Ranch or Hummus
- Sheet Pan Recipes (see below for a quick and easy option!)
Sausage and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe (adapted from a Healthy Makeover)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 package Your favorite, fully cooked sausage sliced
- 2 medium Zucchini sliced
- 2 medium Summer squash sliced
- 2 cups Broccoli florets
- 1 T Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees; line a sheet pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
- Place the sausage slices on the baking sheet, spreading them out evenly
- In a bowl, toss the veggies with olive oil and add some salt and pepper to season
- Spread the veggies on the pan with the sausages
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, then toss everything with a spatula and finish cooking.
- Remove from oven and serve!
Keep following us as we continue to highlight the role of the gut microbiome in health and wellness and tips to keep it healthy!