How to Optimize Your Gut Microbiome

How to Optimize Your Gut Microbiome

Here on our blog, I talk about the everyday things we see in our practice, and many of the videos I do are more about a rabbit hole that I chased down here recently. And this was this is a weird one. Have you guys ever done that and chased down a rabbit hole? Typically, for me, it happens with Netflix. But this time, it occurred to me via reading, so I do a lot of reading. I like to read books, and I came across this one called Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. This is from the late 90s and it is a fascinating read about colonialism. It’s about how different cultures exercise control over other cultures make them into their subjects.

It could very well just be called germs and dumb luck because the whole book talks about why specific populations were healthier than other populations and could wipe out the entire population because of this. Some of what this book talks about is food cultivation and how if you can cultivate food, you are healthier because of it. And then being healthier made you more able to fend off disease and get sick but not die from getting sick.

And then this book led me to another book, Eating to Extinction by Dan South, which is a phenomenal book. Kudos to both of these authors because I was sucked right into both reads. But it took me to tonight’s video about your gut microbiome. The microbiome is the collection of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses in your intestines. It helps to make up how we digest food, and it also plays a massive role in how you can fend off disease.

So it’s interesting because both books talk about what we used to eat  as ancient people. And it turns out we used to eat various foods. We used to have a lot of diversity in our diet, making it so that our gut microbiome was better. And so nowadays, unfortunately, what has happened now, our diet is made up of primarily wheat, corn, rice, and sugar. Today, 75% of our diets are wheat, corn, rice, and sugar. That’s crazy to me. That’s insane to me. But there are some exceptions to this. The Bambuti people in the Congo consumee 300 different species of animals and plants. That’s pretty cool. And then, in rural India, they’re eating 1400 other wildlife species as well as 650 other fruits.

So anyways, why should you care about making your gut microbiome better? Because of this: we now know through a bunch of research that your gut microbiome influences cancer, autoimmune disorders, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, muscle multiple sclerosis, depression and anxiety, and even Autism Spectrum Disorder, right in your gut microbiome. It can help to change your risk of having or the severity of those different conditions. That’s insane to me that’s it seems like such a simple thing.

If we can change what is happening in our intestines, we are less at risk for cancer, autoimmune disease, or autism. But how are you going to do that? This is where I got the idea to talk to you guys tonight about your gut microbiome.

Have you heard the term probiotic? There are probiotics. I think those came out first, then after probiotics, and now prebiotics are the buzzword. If you’re wondering if you need prebiotics and probiotics, I have a better idea. What you should do to begin is so simple, novel, and straightforward, you’d be silly not to do it.

This is almost like a challenge, but it’s also an excellent idea that want you to do every week, and I am doing this right with you. I want you to go to the produce section wherever you shop, and I want you to find something you’ve never eaten before. Find something you haven’t had in a long time. Find a piece of produce that’s got to be a fruit or vegetable. It can’t be like a new kind of cracker you’ve never tried or the latest craze in Oreos. It must be produce, but grab it and then figure out how you’ll cook it and make sure it’s palatable. You don’t want to destroy this thing with butter, salt, or anything else. It should be as close as possible to its whole-food form. And if you add this new piece of produce to your diet, it will change your gut microbiome. That is least as good a way as whatever supplement you’re using. So it’s very easy to find a new fruit or vegetable and add it to your menu this week. It’ll give you an exciting cooking experience if nothing else. Try it and let me know how you feel!

About Dr. Merrill

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Dr. Andrew Merrill is a passionate active clinician and owner of Nightlight Chiropractic Orlando where him and his team treat hundreds of patients each month. With a strong background in exercise science from Stetson University, clinical skills from Palmer College of Chiropractic, and continued postdoctoral training in spinal disc injuries and clinical nutrition, Dr. Merrill is very well versed in the healthcare landscape. With topics ranging from "what to do for common ailments" to "why the medical system is failing you" Dr. Merrill and this blog in particular aim to keep readers up to date on what the research shows and how you can put it into practice NOW to keep yourself healthy for a lifetime.