Much has been learned about health and the importance of carrying good bacteria around with you! No, I’m serious. We have bacteria, trillions of them, that are helping us with our health. Fiber is the microbiome’s main source of food. We know that certain strains of bacteria that live with us in symbiosis actually can have beneficial effects and certain plant fiber’s may support growing healthy populations of bacteria that help health. The information on these bacteria is exploding and changing how we view health treatments and antibiotic use as well. Certainly, we know only the tip of the iceberg, but so much has been learned in regards to modulating the microbiome to impact gut health and certain health issues. Please read on to learn more about different types of beneficial fiber to support your microbiome and your health!
Microbiome and Fiber
In my practice I often test the microbiome to understand how the individual’s microbiome, bacteria in the gut, may be impacting overall health and inflammation. (Read more about the microbiome : HERE ) This can range from common issues such as eczema, asthma or even more complicated things like autoimmune disease and depression. Learning to manipulate and change the gut flora and getting rid of dysbiosis (bad bacteria in the gut) can create improvements in signaling pathways that may impact overall health. Also, many neurotransmitters are produced in the gut also so the microbiome can even impact how we feel and concentrate. Yes! believe it or not! Our bacteria can manipulate our neurotransmitters and may change our moods. Furthermore, the bacteria also impact our immune system signaling pathways and either increase or decrease inflammation. When looking to improve health, the microbiome is a great place to start. Because fiber is what these bacteria eat. But, having the right combinations of fiber is important to your health. Read on to learn more!
Types of Fiber
Most experts would agree that the right amounts of fiber is important for overall gut health. Most people should be eating between 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Albeit, eating too much fiber may contribute to decreased nutrient absorption or gut bloating as well. Eating the right amount is key and that may be different for each person. Now, scientists are studying how individual bacteria may be linked to certain disease processes or conditions. Eating a well balanced and diverse set of fiber is a great way to improve overall gut health. Certainly too much fiber can pose issues as well so making sure to include the right amounts is important.
Insoluble and Soluble Fiber
Fiber comes in different forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers dissolve in water and form into a gel. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and generally may add bulk to stool and improve transit preventing constipation. Both types of fibers are found in natural plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes and nuts. The types of fibers also now have evidence demonstrating what bacteria may be supported through eating them. Many of these healthy foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibers.
Examples of soluble fiber include:
- Citrus Fruits
Examples of Insoluble Fiber includes:
- Bran and whole grains
- potatoes/sweet potatoes
- Bok Choy
Fiber is a great way to improve the microbiome and lead to a better state of health in most people. Eating the right combinations to feed and create a diverse microbiome is so helpful for decreasing inflammation. Plant foods can be such a great way to support antioxidant status and the microbiome at the same time. Make sure you are eating plenty of diverse types of fiber to help with your microbiome. Finally, make sure you see a great Functional Medicine Doctor to help you attain and test your current microbiome as well!
See www.IFM.org for suggestions in your area.
disclaimer: None of the above is meant to diagnose, treat or explain any individual medical conditions. As always, if you are experiencing issues seek attention from a trained medical professional.
At Kessmann Functional Medicine we love making our patients feel their best and promise to do our best to help.
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