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If you’re a regular Journal for Healthy Living reader, you probably know I’m a big fan of probiotics. With the right mix of gut flora, your digestion hums along, you get sick less, and you feel great. But in the last few months, science has discovered even more.
For example, we now know probiotics can “switch on” healthy genes. Studies suggest they can improve your metabolism. And with a few simple steps, you may be able to kick-start the process.
First, you may want to ask yourself if you’re feeding these friendly bacteria what they need to thrive.
The Fastest Way to Create Chaos in Your Gut
You work a long stressful week. Sometimes you only have a few minutes to grab a coffee and donut on the way to work. Lunch may be a sandwich from a vending machine or a fast-food burger. And you may not have the energy to prepare a good meal every evening.
When you finally reach the weekend, you want to relax. Enjoy some fun. And that probably doesn’t include cooking three square meals on Saturday and Sunday.
According to Australian university scientists, this may be the quickest route to an unhealthy mix of bacteria in your gut.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales fed three different diets to three groups of animals. One group ate a healthy diet. The second group ate the equivalent of a junk food diet. And the third group ate well 4 days a week… and ate junk the other 3.
After 16 weeks, the gut flora in the on-and-off subjects was much closer to the full-time junk food group’s than the healthy eaters’. Their insulin levels jumped up higher than the healthy group’s. And they wound up 18% heavier than the healthy eaters.1
The authors of the study say the same thing may happen inside your body. The friendly microbes that help with your digestion and immune response need to eat well. Feed them junk food, and they may give way to unhealthy strains… and your health could suffer.
The answer? Stay away from junk food as much as you can. Keep plenty of fruit and veggies on hand. When you prepare healthy meals, make enough to take for a couple of lunches – or freeze for another dinner.
You can try fruit and yogurt smoothies for breakfast. They’re fast, low in calories, and can help boost your gut flora’s health.
That’s especially good news, because boosting the health of your resident friendly bacteria can boost your health too. For example…
“Switch on” the Right Genes
Researchers have discovered your friendly microbes can “talk” with cells far from their home in your gut. At least part of this “talk” influences which genes are expressed. That is, which genes are active… and which remain silent.
A healthy mix of microbes in your gut helps ensure that genes key for good health are switched on. And less healthy genes aren’t.
Scientists at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) say the Western diet shuts down the communication between your gut flora and key cells in your body.
The UWM team fed animals one of two diets. Some got a mix of foods similar to the fruits and vegetables in a healthy human diet. Others ate a diet higher in fats and sugars.
The foods high in fat and sugar changed the mix of gut microbes. And the changed mix didn’t send the same messages – or influence the same genes – as the healthy mix in the fruit and veggie eaters.2
The take-away here is a diet rich in fruits and veggies doesn’t just boost your health directly. It also helps steer healthy gene expression via communications from a mix of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Maintain a Healthy Metabolism
Your metabolism is the sum of all the chemical processes in your body that sustain life. Keeping all these processes running smoothly is quite a job. But you have allies…
New discoveries show the mix of microbes in your gut has a big impact on your metabolism. And these microbes may find their way into your gut just by contact with others.
Danish scientists recently discovered gut microbes can spread just by close contact with others.3 That’s a lot like the way the bacteria on your skin travels.
And in animal experiments, the Danish doctors discovered gut microbes from obese animals can cause other animals to gain weight. These bacteria can also change the way a body handles fats and carbs… which can lead to weight gain and changes to metabolism.
For example, the researchers took gut microbes from people, and put them into germ-free mice. Half the human donors had a healthy body weight. The others were obese. Then they fed the mice the exact same diet.
Even though the animals were eating the same amounts of the same foods, they had different reactions. Those with gut microbes from healthy people stayed at a normal weight. But those with microbes from obese people grew fat.4
This suggests a healthy mix of gut microbes can help you stay thinner and sexier.
But that’s not all.
The Missing Link for a Healthy Gut
We’ve known for a long time that probiotics – those friendly microbes in your gut – eat certain fibers you can’t digest.
Inulin and FOS (fructooligosaccharides) would normally pass right through your body untouched. But friendly microbes treat them like a gourmet meal. Vegetables like onions and asparagus provide lots of inulin – and help keep your gut flora healthy.
But new research shows these fibers are missing a key ingredient that makes gut flora thrive. It’s nitrogen.
The carbs that deliver the fiber your gut microbes eat don’t offer a lot of nitrogen. To get the nitrogen your gut flora needs, you have to eat something else.
Protein. According to Australian scientists, your gut flora needs both healthy fiber and protein to thrive.5
These scientists found getting the fiber delivered benefits from gut microbes. But maximum benefits required protein, too.6
So a diet with plenty of vegetables, a fair amount of fruit, and adequate protein seems to be ideal. And that’s a diet I’ve mentioned before for trimming down… and for helping hold on to lean muscle while losing weight.
Finally, one last suggestion for getting the most out of a healthy mix of gut flora…
Recruit Reinforcements for the Biggest Benefit
Taking a probiotic supplement can help build a healthy mix of microbes in your gut. The best probiotic supplements contain…
• A mix of several different strains of bacteria
• Billions – not just millions – of colony forming units”
• “Prebiotics” – the fibers probiotic bacteria eat
And that’s exactly what you’ll find in Super Flora Plus, Best Life Herbals’ potent probiotic formula. To discover more ways Super Flora Plus can boost your health, visit BestLife-Herbals.com.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Wheelahan, D., “Weekend binge just as bad for the gut as regular junk food diet, study suggests,” University of New South Wales Jan 20, 2016.
2 Devitt, T., “Gut’s microbial community shown to influence host gene expression,” University Of Wisconsin-Madison News. Nov 23, 2016.
3 Zhang, L., et al, “Environmental spread of microbes impacts the development of metabolic phenotypes in mice transplanted with microbial communities from humans,” The ISME Journal. Nov 18, 2016; doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.151.
4 “Gut bacteria affect our metabolism,” The National Food Institute. Nov 18, 2016.
5 Holmes, A.J., et al, “Diet-Microbiome Interactions in Health Are Controlled by Intestinal Nitrogen Source Constraints,” Cell Metabolism. Nov 23, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.10.021.
6 Cook, E., “Major finding identifies nitrogen as key driver for gut health,” University of Sydney. Nov 24, 2016
The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and disease.
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