You Are What You Eat
The phrase, “You are what you eat” implies that the way we are defines us as the food we all consumed. However, our gut tells us otherwise as the food we eat, may in fact be leading us to obesity. Our gut plays a role in our overall health, when we eat good food our gut is happy and when we eat bad food our gut will tell us by fighting off the bad food. A recent study showed us that the bacteria in our gut produce amyloid and lipopolysaccharides. These two microbiomes seem to show us that together, with proper dieting that these microbiomes can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
As the microbiomes and the bacteria that co-exist in our gut, there are the two most predominant groups that have also played a key role in our lifestyle: gram-positive Firmicutes and gram-negative Bacteroidetes- both play a huge role in obesity. Firmicutes are bad bacteria that lead us to obesity. When we eat processed food and sugars, our body starts to crave it more, thus leading us to be overweight.
When we eat junk food, all that sugar and fat are feeding the Firmicutes. Firmicutes thrive on sugar since our bodies need it and it can be both good or bad While Bacteroidetes are the good bacteria that leads us to a healthy gut. Bacteroidetes are in the stomach regions as well as the Firmicutes. These two predominant bacteria groups tell us that the food we eat can actually affect our bodies when we eat bad foods or good foods.
However, Dr. Kristen Senella mentioned that we all have a different balance of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes since we are all different shapes and sizes. Depending on our health and food lifestyle, we can have either a low Firmicutes and a high Bacteroidetes or a high Firmicutes and a low Bacteroidetes. Plus, having either a high or low count of Firmicutes can lead to weight gain or weight loss; depending on which healthy lifestyle and exercise regime you are following.
Gram-positive bacteria will appear blue or violet, while gram-negative bacteria will appear red or pink under the microscope. When studying the gut and the bacteria groups that it is hosting, scientist use mice to study how their guts react to different diets they are put through so that way we, as humans, can take either pills to help our bodies maintain a healthy lifestyle or to read and do our own research. One group is fed in a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t experience diseases or ailments that we face. And the other group is fed with a bad lifestyle where they are prone to many of the diseases and fatigue as their life span is shortened very quickly. In order for us to actually maintain a healthy lifestyle and importantly feel good is to make sure our Firmicutes are not too dangerously low, but we can control it with probiotics.
Probiotics can vary from yogurt, fermented vegetables, kombucha, and miso. But there are certain companies that also reign supreme in the probiotic market. Activia yogurt and Yakult are two of the most well-known companies that use the live microorganisms to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as keeping our gut’s microbiome in check. When we have some sort of probiotic foods in our system, we are preventing certain ailments and diseases going out of control. Like our cholesterol, blood pressure, being lactose intolerant, or recurring abdominal pains.
When we mix probiotics into our food when we are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we can see a vast improvement in how we have more energy, we feel full that we don’t have to overeat or mindless snacking, and overall we feel good in our gut as we go through our daily routine. From 2007 to now, roughly 3.9 million Americans use probiotics to maintain a healthy gut, however, those probiotics are just a fraction of what the six types of foods that can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome to help support a healthy lifestyle.
For instance, a good healthy lifestyle is eating your basic food groups; whether it be plant-based or omnivorous, as well as, exercising a couple of times out of the year. A bad healthy lifestyle is eating processed food and not exercising, which leads to obesity and cardiac arrest. Depending on the person and the efforts that they are willing to maintain a healthy lifestyle, they can achieve longevity by taking care of their gut first and foremost.
Let’s start with protein. Protein can vary with lean meats like chicken and beef or plant-based like beans, legumes or tofu. Any of these types of protein can help our bodies by making us make our muscles grow, but also control the bacteria in our guts. Next up is fats. Fats can vary like good and bad bacteria. There are good fats like fish, nuts, olive oil, and avocado; as well as, bad fats like butter, lard, and fatty foods. Granted that we can overindulge on the trans fats as there are many fast-food chains, but we can moderate ourselves to not eat out at fast food joints all the time.
Yes, they are cheap and easy to access, however now and days, we as humans are now cooking more in our homes and meal prepping our meals to be healthier. Digestible and Non-Digestible Carbohydrates are mostly starch, sugars, and fibers. These two food groups can make our gut feel happy or upset depending on the food we consume. Sugars, starches, and fibers help our bodies by feeling full with the starches, the fibers help our bowel movements in case our gut feels bloated, and the sugars gives us microburst of energy for our fast-paced lives.
Fermented & Polyphenols
The last two food groups are fermented food and Polyphenols. Both of these food groups have amazing properties since we see them everywhere in the food market, hiding in plain sight. Fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi are a few examples of ways of keeping our guts happy and stopping many diseases. Polyphenols are antioxidant foods like dark chocolate, berries, dark greens, and certain fruits. These help our gut curb that sugar hunger and all in all taste really good.
All in all, our gut microbiomes are important to us and our overall health as we all try to maintain and achieve a healthy lifestyle. The phrase “we are what we eat” still implies to all of us, however, it is up to us to actually put in the work and constantly try out different foods to make sure that our gut is still functioning properly. No matter which diet you choose, pick one that will work with your body and your gut since we all are made differently. But our gut should be the first thing that we should listen to.
Role of gut microbiota and nutrients in amyloid formation and pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. – PubMed – NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27634977
Bacteroidetes Glossary Biome360: https://www.biome360.com/glossary/bacteroidetes/
What are Firmicutes? : https://www.biome360.com/blog/firmicutes/
Bacteria and the body – Wikiversity: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Bacteria_and_the_body#Gram-positive_bacteria
Nanoparticle relieved symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in mice: https://phys.org/news/2019-08-nanoparticle-relieved-symptoms-inflammatory-bowel.html
Polyphenols: What They Are, and Why You Need Them: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/12/14/polyphenols-benefits.aspx