Have You Heard About Good Bacteria? - insidefitnessmag.com

Written by Sarah Ainsley Harrison (@sarahainsleyh)

You can’t just plant seeds and expect them to flourish. You need to water and fertilizer/feed what you want to grow. The same goes for probiotics. It is not enough to simply take a probiotic. You can ingest all the good bacteria you want, but you need to feed them instead of feeding the bad bacteria.

To clarify a common confusion – Probiotics are bacteria you ingest. Prebiotics are the foods you eat that your micro-biome end up eating. Bad bacteria love sugar. Simple carbs and sugar feed the opposing force (bad bacteria). Unless you’re feeding the good guys, it will be a losing battle resulting in dysbiosis; the imbalance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.

To have an optimal immune system, we want to have approximately 85% good bacteria, and ~15% bad bacteria to not only exercise our natural immune system, but also to prevent auto-immune issues where the body is looking for invaders and can have issues of differentiating “self” and “non-self” to attack.

The Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA published findings that high doses of fructose and glucose impede the production of proteins that foster the growth of a bacterial species often found in healthy people. A diet high in processed food and added sugar can actually eliminate the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Sugar is not just a macro-nutrient, it is also a signal and that signal could cause your best microbes to “abandon ship”.

Good news and bad news, bacteria multiply rapidly and while you can become imbalanced very quickly, you can also heal it relatively quickly and easily with the right dietary choices and good supplementation. You automatically shift your body’s bacterial balance based on what foods you eat. Good bacteria like fibrous long chain sugars. Simple carbs break down too easily and you digest them completely upping your blood sugar, instead of fibrous carbs that don’t break down as quickly or easily and leave undigested fibre to feed your good bacteria.

Good bacteria love foods like resistant starches, tubers and fungi which are rich prebiotics (help you defy aging): Sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, cassava, mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, rutabagas, chicory, yacon root, konjac root, taro root, burdock root, ground flax seed, [whole] oats, asparagus, onions, leeks, barley, seaweed, dandelion root and dandelion greens, apples, and green bananas (unripen bananas are high in resistant starch). Good bacteria thrive on these starches, creating more short chain fats acetate, butyrate, propionate which make a perfect fuel source for mitochondria.

Bad bacteria love foods like fructose, glucose, corn syrup. Candida LOVES sugar and will cause you to uncontrollably crave it like an addiction, almost like a parasitic force.

Akkermansia muciniphila is one of the best bacterial strands we can cultivate. It is the fountain of youth – Feed those friends! Akkermansia muciniphila is key because it can increase the thickness of the mucus lining in your gut, thereby increasing its barrier function. Not only that, but certain polyphenols can prevent diet-induced obesity too. Akkermansia favourite food is inulin.

How do you increase inulin?

Start adding inulin to your diet with small increases. Begin by adding small amounts of inulin-rich foods to the diet. When starting to take inulin supplements, some sources suggest beginning with no more than 2–3 g a day for at least 1–2 weeks. Slowly increase this before reaching 5–10 g a day.


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