Over the past couple of years we've seen an explosion of interest in gut-healthy diets and overall gut health, including good gut bacteria and microbe diversity. In large part, this is due to a rash of new research on our gut bacteria and the direct links established from this research between gut health and your overall health. In fact, high gut 'biome' diversity is associated with a low risk of obesity and many diseases. In short, there is a strongly established link that the more diverse the community of microbes in your gut the lower your risk of disease.
Our gut biome is comprised of trillions of bacteria that has a drastic influence on mood, metabolism, immune system, and skin, brain and joint health.
We generally understand that a diet high in "junk food" and processed foods is not good for us. To illustrate this, a researcher tested gut biome' health using a test subject on a McDonald's-only diet. The results, in only four days, were a 40% reduction in his gut bacteria diversity, including a 50% loss in the bacteria that suppresses inflammation. Chronic inflammation of course is associated with obesity, autoimmune disease, depression and poor immunity. Loss of diversity is also a signal of poor health in the guts of people with diabetes type 2.
So knowing that a healthy and diverse gut microbiome is essential for our overall health what can we do tip the scales, so to speak, to our benefit.
A group of researchers recently visited the Hadza Tribe of Tanzania, known as having some of the most diverse gut microbiome ever tested. Within three days of travelling and eating exclusively with this tribe the researchers recorded an amazing and significant 20% increase in their microbe level.
The diet consisted of what you might think a 30,000 year old diet might consist of: roots, berries, plant and animal-based. Organ meats were eaten as well as the bones cooked and eaten. Just like many of your grandparents and great-grandparents would have done.
This type of improvement in just three days reflects previous studies that shows that gut health can be rebuilt quickly. This is important for those with issues such as leaky gut, IBS, acid reflux and who might be on medicines including antibiotics that are destroying your gut diversity. So the next time you feel guilty about your binge eating or a weekend binder remember that in a few days you can be back up to health with a diverse natural diet. Do your best hunter-gatherer imitation at the markets and your body will thank you. It doesn't have to be the Hadza 30,000 year-old-diet but plenty of diversity in your plant and animal-based diets and include your bone broth.
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