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Pre-Feeding with Fiber: Prebiotics and Your Gut Microbiome

Posted by | October 13, 2014 | Abel James, Featured | 7 Comments
pre-feeding-with-fiber

Hungry?

Grab an apple and eat it while you’re making dinner. That fresh, crunchy apple will help you lose weight, feel good, and be healthy!

Why? The apple is low calorie and high fiber, so it will help you feel full and consume fewer calories at dinner. Of course, you could also try a light salad or a cup of broth-based vegetable soup.

Any fibrous fresh fruit or veggie will do the trick.

But your pre-meal apple or salad does more than displace the calorie-rich foods you may have otherwise eaten during your meal! In fact, the healing implications are microscopic! Get ready, we’re going into your gut.

Balancing your Gut Microbiome

About 500 – 1,000 species of microscopic bacteria live and thrive inside your gut. They are responsible for developing your gut flora (and training your immune system), keeping bad bacteria at bay, absorbing nutrients, and digesting food. Pretty important stuff, right?

These bacteria form a little microbiome in your gut that functions like an organ, and if that microbiome gets thrown out of whack, you are going to suffer for it.

So, what’s my burger-fries-milkshake combo meal got to do with it?
Your gut ecosystem is fragile and can be upset by a number of things, including antibiotic usage, drugs and alcohol, stress, and (you guessed it) sugar, fat, and processed foods. (Burger-fries-milkshake combo.)

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!

Bad bacteria and yeast flourish on sugar and processed prepackaged foods. Bad food feeds the bad bacteria. When these bad bacteria are ruling the roost, you’ll start to see an increase in a molecule called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is found on the bacteria’s surface. The increased LPS triggers an immune-response that leads to low-grade chronic inflammation.

Say “hello” to weight-gain, insulin resistance, allergies, joint pain, depression, and more.

Unfortunately, for about the past fifty years, our culture has turned to refined carbs and processed grain oils for its food staples… and we’ve seen the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic skyrocket as a result.

The instance of microbiome-related disorders is at an incredible high due primarily to poor dietaries choices combined with a stressful lifestyle. These serious health issues include:

  • Colitis
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Obesity
  • Leaky gut (which leads to chronic inflammation)
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • AND even Colon Cancer

The most current research implicating the gut in weight-gain and diabetes claims that bacteria-miscommunications in the imbalanced microbiome cause overeating: Bacteria in the colon release the leptins which tell the brain, “Whoa, I’m full! Stop eating, now.”

What happens when that bacteria are out of whack? They send the signal to KEEP EATING instead. The result: Weight gain, no matter how little you’re eating!

BUT THERE’S GOOD NEWS!

Good food feeds the good bacteria. When you eat that apple before your meal, you stimulate the production of the healthy bacteria that help your food digest, boost your immune system function, and make you feel full.

You’ve heard of probiotics, right? They get a lot of press. These are primarily composed of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria—the main “good bacteria” that keep the bad at bay.

Well, the apple is not a probiotic.

The apple is a prebiotic – dietary fiber that passes through the gastrointestinal tract undigested. Prebiotics stimulate the activity or growth of the good bacteria colonizing the gut.

So, the apple isn’t a probiotic, it’s more like an instigator. Some other good prebiotics (instigators) are: bananas, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, berries, asparagus, and dandelion greens.

You need both probiotics and prebiotics to achieve optimal gut microbiome balance.

The Gut-Balancing Lifestyle

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, reduce gas and bloating, kick Crohn’s, or simply be the healthiest you can be, it’s important to get that gut microbiome balanced.

DO EAT: A Wild diet rich in plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, fermented foods, and organic cultured yogurt or kefir. A paleo-like Wild diet will certainly help you amp up the good bacteria and kick out the bad.

DON’T EAT: Refined sugar, processed foods, processed grains, grain oils. These things will hurt your gut microbiome, cause inflammation, and sabotage your efforts.

PRE-FEED WITH FIBER: About fifteen minutes before you eat your evening meal, eat an apple, banana, cup of brothy vegetable soup, a light salad full of fresh vegetables, or drink a green smoothie (banana, leafy greens and other veggies, water, and ice).

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER: At least eight 8-ounce glasses a day will help your digestive tract process and elimination.

SLEEP AND RELAX: Get plenty of sleep and take time to unwind. Stress can cause trouble in your gut. Just a few minutes a day to meditate, do yoga, exercise, stretch, nap, or otherwise unwind will help you regain some belly balance.

The news is good—the power is in your hands! Each and every one of you can take back your health by getting into the kitchen. With every bite you take of good, healthy food, you are changing your gut microbiome for the better. Use your power wisely!

Speaking of power… you also have the power to help the people in your life get healthy. Share this information with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Post it, pin it, tweet it—the more you build a healthy community around you, the easier journey to optimal health will be!

RESOURCES

Spreadbury I. Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:175–189.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3464869/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23985870

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065

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7 Comments

  • Mike says:

    What do you think about resistant starch? Specifically powdered potato starch. I have 3 to 4 tablespoons of Bob’s Redmill potato starch with a glass of water every day some time in the morning. I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. Mike

  • unterderlaterne says:

    I would very much like to Know the same thing!

  • Ashley says:

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to advise Crohn’s or Colitis patients to start eating raw salads and such. Prebiotics are good for people who want to prevent such things, but are terrible for those people who already suffer. Just look into SCD or GAPS.

    Keep up the hard work. Thank you, Abel, for all that you do for this community.

  • Wayne says:

    I knew about probiotics – somewhat. But I didn’t understand prebiotics. This is fantastic information. As one who has suffered with atherosclerosis for the last 25 years, I am trying to understand how to use diet to reduce inflamation in my arteries so I can eventually get off these debilitating statin drugs. I just discovered your iTunes video podcasts about about three weeks ago and have learned so much from you and your guests. Keep going Abel. Teach me more.

  • bonnie says:

    Hi Abel, thanks for the great info. I’ve been suffering from IBS type symptoms for a while now. I recently started doing a warm breakfast porridge using a little psyllium husk, ground flax, chia, and gelatin. today I added a couple of organic raisins and some
    coconut shreds and walnuts (and a dollop of butter!) I am feeling tons better and never had prebiotics explained so understandably. This article is a treasure!

  • Joy says:

    Hi Abel, I too have had to do a great deal of research and used myself as a human guinea pig thorough out my quest. Since coming across your site and tapping into your podcasts I have learnt so much. Daily just about I am promoting your site. Thank you for all your hard work, and passion. Your on going commitment is applaudable.
    Keep it up 🙂

  • Sergio says:

    No more podcasts? I was looking forward to the 2015 Biohacking strategies.

    All the best Abel!!!

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