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Show 1222: How Can You Optimize Your Microbiome?

To optimize your microbiome, focus on fiber. The more different types of plants you consume, the more your gut microbes will thrive.
Show 1222: How Can You Optimize Your Microbiome?
Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI, author of Fiber Fueled
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How Can You Optimize Your Microbiome?

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The microbiome–the genome of our collective microbiota–has become a trendy topic in medicine lately. With more microbial than human cells in our bodies, it’s becoming clear we should think of ourselves as collectives. Citizen scientists have been contributing to the understanding of microbiota biodiversity through the American Gut Project. Yet most of us don’t really consider that when we eat, we are feeding our microbes just as much as ourselves. What would you eat to optimize your microbiome?

Optimize Your Microbiome with Fiber:

Dr. Will Bulsiewicz is a fiber evangelist. Feeding our microbiota with plants, especially high-fiber plants, helps the healthful ones flourish. In fact, the American Gut Project showed that the best predictor of microbial diversity is the number of unique plant species a person eats. A wide range of plants presumably encourages different microbes to flourish, and healthful species tend to predominate. When we eat a variety of plants, we are getting both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Junk food, on the other hand, seems to promote the growth of pathogenic varieties. Find out how our microbiota influence the immune system, metabolism, hormone balance, cognitive function and other significant aspects of our health. Moreover, find out why they love broccoli sprouts, leafy greens, lentils and beans. What else do they appreciate? Fermented foods, probiotics and prebiotic fibers. In summary, think of the FGOALS: Fruit, Fermented Foods, Greens, whole Grains, Omega-3 fats from flaxseed, chia and hemp seed, Aromatics (onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, etc.), Legumes, ‘Shrooms, Seaweed and Sulforaphane. Given such fuel, you can optimize your microbiome so that the very diverse organisms that comprise it will produce the short chain fatty acids (SCFA) you need.

Can You Reduce Flatulence?

What can you do to reduce problems with intestinal gas as you are gearing up your diet to optimize your microbiome? Traditional cuisines that focus on many of these foods include other plants such as asafoetida, fennel, ginger or mint tea to help control flatulence.  

This Week’s Guest:

Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MCSI, is a gastroenterologist, gut health expert and the author of more than twenty articles in the top American gastroenterology journals. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine and was chief medical resident at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and chief gastroenterology fellow at the University of North Carolina Hospitals. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife and two children. His book is Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome. The photo of Dr. Busiewicz in the greenhouse is by Margaret Wright.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, August 3, 2020, after broadcast on August 1. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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