Easy Tips to Feed Your Microbiome

In this article, we discuss easy, practical steps you can take to feed, nourish, and re-balance your microbiome for optimal health and vitality.

If you need help supporting your microbiome, click here

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Easy Tips to Feed Your Microbiome

In Monday’s video we discussed the microbiota miracle and the importance of establishing a healthy ecosystem. So often we’re looking for a magic pill, or in this case a magic probiotic, to resolve all of our issues.

Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Our microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and thousands of different species. While taking a probiotic can be very helpful and supportive, bringing balance to your ecosystem requires more than just a pill.

Today we’ll discuss some easy tips to feed and support your microbiome.

It’s important to point out that if there is an infection or overgrowth present, such as SIBO, Candida, or a parasite, then that should be addressed as well. It’s important to first fix the imbalances and remove the infections. Then start to feed and re-establish a healthy microbiome.

(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

You’ll want to start by incorporating a whole foods diet free of processed foods and refined sugar. Incorporate clean animal protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats.

A paleo-style diet is a good guide to follow.

Additionally, adding in probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods will tremendously help feed your microbiome and re-establish and rebalance your gut.

Choose Foods Rich in Probiotics

While taking a probiotic supplement is a great way to support your microbiome and immune system, feeding your gut foods that are a natural source of probiotics is extremely helpful.

Food fermentation dates back over 7,000 years to wine making in Persia. The Chinese were fermenting cabbage 6,000 years ago. While fermentation initially started as a food preservation method, these ancient civilizations certainly recognized the health benefits.

The type of fermentation that makes most foods rich in probiotics is called lactic acid fermentation. The good bacteria convert sugar molecules in the food into lactic acid, which causes the bacteria to multiply. The lactic acid protects the food from being invaded by pathogenic bacteria.

Fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics. Examples include sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, pickles, pickled fruits and vegetables, cultured condiments, and even fermented meat.

For some, starting with low doses, like 1 tbsp. and increasing gradually is best tolerated. True fermented vegetables will be found in the refrigerated section at your health food store. Remember that the probiotic benefits are only present in unpasteurized foods pickled in brine; not in vinegar. The pickles and sauerkraut on the center aisle are not fermented.

Also, be careful with store-bought yogurt and kefir, since most of it is flavored and has a ton of added sugar or artificial sweetener. Opt for the organic, plain variety of yogurt or kefir and add your own fresh fruit or raw honey. Or try making your own.

Try switching up or rotating your fermented foods to get a diverse variety of good bacteria.

Choose Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Prebiotics are food for your gut bacteria. They’re what your bacteria love to eat to fuel their growth and activity, and they can be easily consumed through certain foods.

It has been estimated that for every 100 grams of consumed carbohydrates that qualify as prebiotics, a full 30 grams of bacteria are produced. (NOTE: This is why prebiotics tend to worsen SIBO symptoms. Treat infections first; then rebalance the gut.)

Prebiotics have three characteristics:

  1. They must be non-digestible — they pass through the stomach without being broken down.
  2. They have to be fermented or metabolized by the intestinal bacteria.
  3. This process has to provide health benefits.

Prebiotics offer a variety of health benefits:

  • They reduce fever-related illnesses associated with diarrhea or respiratory events.
  • They reduce inflammation in IBD and reduce risk of colon cancer.
  • They enhance mineral absorption.
  • They lower certain risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
  • They promote a sense of fullness, reduce obesity, and promote weight loss.

The top food sources for natural prebiotics include chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onions, leeks, jicama, acacia gum, dandelion greens, and asparagus.

To recap, here are your easy tips to support a healthy microbiome:

  1. Eat a clean, whole foods diet that is free of refined sugar and processed foods.
  2. Fix imbalances and infections like SIBO, candida, or parasites.
  3. Establish balance in your ecosystem with fresh fruits and veggies, clean protein, and healthy fats.
  4. Feed your microbiome with probiotic rich foods — fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, etc.
  5. Feed your microbiome with prebiotic foods like onions, garlic, chicory, and leeks.

References: Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter

If you need help supporting your microbiome, click here

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

8 thoughts on “Easy Tips to Feed Your Microbiome

  1. Dr. Ruscio,

    First, thank you for this well-written and concise post. I have one general and one more personal question.

    1) Do these prebiotic foods have to be raw? e.g. grilled asparagus

    2) I recently stopped becoming regular and had intense bloating in the lower abdomen, looking 6 months pregnant after ingesting a meal (and sometimes on an empty stomach). After some reading, I implemented probiotic foods and Prescript Assist. I’ve noticed my transit time and regularity has increased substantially since then. This makes me a very happy lady. Still, the bloating has been ongoing for 2 months, and it’s been near 10 days with the probiotic aids and bloating still there. Will this bloating ever go away? This makes me a very unhappy lady.

    Thank you so much.
    ~Kim

    1. You welcome Kim,
      They do not have to be raw. In fact some foods form more prebios when cooked and then cooled; like rice and potatoes. You may want to try other probiotics in addition to your current one, and/or an enzyme.
      https://dr-michael-ruscio.myshopify.com/collections/digestion-and-gut-health/products/therbiotic-complete
      https://dr-michael-ruscio.myshopify.com/collections/digestion-and-gut-health/products/digestzymes
      If this doesn’t help my book will. Out early next year 🙂
      Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you! I have some enzyme supplements that I haven’t used regularly. I will continue to use them.
        I might fill out your patient form, as I actually am near your practice (Sonoma County).
        ~Kim

  2. Dr. Ruscio,

    First, thank you for this well-written and concise post. I have one general and one more personal question.

    1) Do these prebiotic foods have to be raw? e.g. grilled asparagus

    2) I recently stopped becoming regular and had intense bloating in the lower abdomen, looking 6 months pregnant after ingesting a meal (and sometimes on an empty stomach). After some reading, I implemented probiotic foods and Prescript Assist. I’ve noticed my transit time and regularity has increased substantially since then. This makes me a very happy lady. Still, the bloating has been ongoing for 2 months, and it’s been near 10 days with the probiotic aids and bloating still there. Will this bloating ever go away? This makes me a very unhappy lady.

    Thank you so much.
    ~Kim

    1. You welcome Kim,
      They do not have to be raw. In fact some foods form more prebios when cooked and then cooled; like rice and potatoes. You may want to try other probiotics in addition to your current one, and/or an enzyme.
      https://dr-michael-ruscio.myshopify.com/collections/digestion-and-gut-health/products/therbiotic-complete
      https://dr-michael-ruscio.myshopify.com/collections/digestion-and-gut-health/products/digestzymes
      If this doesn’t help my book will. Out early next year 🙂
      Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you! I have some enzyme supplements that I haven’t used regularly. I will continue to use them.
        I might fill out your patient form, as I actually am near your practice (Sonoma County).
        ~Kim

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