(This article is not compete simply because it is a ongoing study and discovery at many levels….stay tuned for updates)

When I am in the garden, my mind teams with thoughts, ideas, possibilities and I wonder into  rabbit holes of pondering that nature of our beings and what is pure, true and sustainable health.  With the onslaught and rise of so many chronic diseases there is an obvious link to mass produced food for the need of profit.   I have always thought that health is whole, a hole, a circle and connected and like a perfect garden that feeds itself in a complete whole, so too is perfect health.  As above, so below!

Look at the degeneration of our food supply and see the link with the destruction of the soil and the onslaught of chemicals. Are allopathic medicines curing?   Are people healthier, happier?  I observe the answer is no.

Things are getting worse.If you have CHRONIC PAIN (100 million Americans), CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES (probably 90% of you reading this), or any AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (best guess, half of you or more), then it is imperative that you understand why the colonies of bugs in your gut could not only change your life, it could literally save your life.

I keep coming back to the garden whose foundation, soil is the key to vibrant life.   What is the soil of the human body?  It is the gut.  The soil and our gut are the same.  It is the same story!   This connection the single most important and wondrous science to so many things going wrong in our modern culture.  The garden’s success is much like the success of our digestive. The kingdoms within (the bacteria and fungus) are the workers – chewing, excavating, digesting and evacuating… that create health.

Soil has a microbiome.   Humans have a microbiome.  I think we might discover, soon, the sky has a microbiome too.

I often wonder when the alien activists talk about spider and cock-roach like creatures if they are not projecting “out there” what is so very important for us “inside”?    For me, it is very obvious that destroying the soil’s microbiome (which commercial growing does) destroys our food source.  Destroying the food source destroys humans (depopulation).   It is a chain of destruction that eliminates the little creatures and as money can be made.   Quite seriously, it is effective albeit horrible.  And, please wake up to the fact that this destruction is the most powerful way to control the population of the world while making a lot a money at the same time.

So, how do we help ourselves and take back our right to health.  First, learn to compost.  Learn to garden or support a gardener for food.  Study and love the soil.     Then eat as it nourishes our internal biome which is a fancy name for internal bug colonies.  Those teeny weeny creatures feed our body systems and control our immune system (now scientifically determined to be 75% and more incontrol of our immune system). We remove the need to lean on a commercial system that is rotten.   We take health into our own hands.   We self empower the little creatures who house in our body and the result is our health.

As much as this is a science, learning about bugs is also an art…an ancient delicate art that translates as health alchemy.  For me, this journey is about learning how to alchemize soil, grow gardens, to make exlirs and decoctions of living foods, ferments, sprouts, bacterias and yeasts to grow medicine.  The creations provide vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, probiotics, prebiotics and a feast for the inner bugs.

Before you read any further, I disclose I am not a biologist nor do I have any formal education is these sciences.  My experience comes from a fascination of soil, the human body and the ancient alchemists.   I’ve studied natural health for 4 decades.   I have been very disillusioned even with the naturopath health industry.     Like you, I have information at my finger tips and do research (a lot) about human health.  I am a frantic gardener.   I shy from and I am often disgusted with the modern pharmaceutical protocols that have more side-effects than benefits.   Common sense tells me chronic disease is rising tremendously.   I love my microscope and when looking at blood, urine, stools or soil, I am amazed at this bursting microscopic world.   I am a frantic gardener. (sorry, already said that)   I do not understand why humans have stopped gardening.    The deeper my relationship with the gardens, the more I seem compelled to seek and find the well spring of health and happiness.   There is a sacred knowledge that we have lost.   What is that magic?   As above so below and everything is connected as the two natural law principles that propel my desire to turn on the fountain tap of magical medicine.

So, we all have bodies.   While the human body contains somewhere in the vicinity of 30 trillion cells, it contains 20-50 trillion bacterial cells….some say more…maybe 10 times more.   Doing some simple math, that would be 2-3 lbs of bacteria.

As I have with soil, I have fallen in love with the promising realm of the human gut microbiome.   Science is opening more emerging evidence that the millions of microbes in our digestive tract influence our immune systems, our smells, our mood, and possibly even our attractiveness to mosquitoes—and to other people.   These same little microbes live in the soil too. Modern, sterilized life in sealed-off office buildings and germaphobic tendencies are, well, ridiculous and a program to wipe us so clean we loose our humanity.  To all the mom’s who frantically wash their children hands, researchers have already found clear evidence that childhood exposure to outdoor microbes is linked to a more robust immune system; for example, Bavarian farm children who spent time in family animal stables and drank farm milk had drastically lower rates of asthma and allergies throughout their lives than their neighbours who did not.  This also means that dog’s kisses are medicine too.

In the1930s a man named Sir Albert Howard championed the idea that microbial life promoted not only soil fertility, but human health as well.  At that time, science couldn’t explain the mechanisms through which this happened, so his views were considered speculative (at best).  Now, we are deepening out understanding that the world in our gut and the world of composting soil is, in fact, the same.

Our gut is a compost pile.  It is called  microbiome or microbiota – gut flora colony – and it is as unique as your finger print. Many people still regard bacteria and other microbes just as disease-causing germs. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. In fact, it’s become increasingly clear that the healthy human body is teeming with microorganisms, many of which play essential roles in our metabolism, our immune response, and even our mental health. We are not just an organism, we are a “superorganism” made up of human cells and microbial cells—and the microbes outnumber us!

Humans that live close to the land have hundreds of thousands of gut species living inside their body.   However, for us modern people, we may have 600-800.  The mircobiome colonies have drastically declined in the last 2-3 generations and there is a strong connection to agriculture, GMO, and chemicals.   Here is a great video on ozone therapy that shows how the increase in agri(agro)culture has impacted the health of humans HERE

This inner mircobiome colony is the largest software “code” package in your body and probably equally or more important to the immune system than our our human genome (DNA).   It is symbiotic to human health.   The fact is you are more microbe than human — if you count all the cells (therefore DNA)  in your body, only  about 43% are actually human.  The rest is our microbiome and includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and single-celled archaea ( all found in soil).  The human genome — the full set of genetic instructions for a human being — is made up of 20,000 instructions called genes.  But add all the genes in our microbiome together and the figure comes out at between two million and 20 million microbial genes.  It is no wonder that the microbiome is called the second genome but maybe we should consider it the primary genome?.   And, it is linked to diseases including allergy, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s, whether cancer drugs work and even depression and autism and many more.   More than half your body is not human  It’s an intriguing concept — that an imbalance in the gut microbiome could be involved in depression.

Here is a great site listing many scientific articles on this topic of the mircobiome HERE

With this new knowledge, health has a take on a new description… symbiosis with the microbes.

Microbes have never been particularly solitary. Most live as colonies in communities of multiple species, a far cry from how they are usually studied in single-species laboratory cultures. Some stick together, literally, coating surfaces with resilient, tough biofilms. But a biofilm is more than a clump of cohabitating bacteria. The glue-like matrix that binds them together comes from a mix of proteins and long chains of complex sugars called polysaccharides that the bacteria themselves secrete. These microbial cities grow everywhere moisture clings to a surface so that includes our teeth and inner digestive skin lining. Biofilms grow in our bodies and is basically a network of bacteria. The inhabitants of these worked together to ensure the survival of as many members as possible. Biofilms can occur almost anywhere that microorganisms live on your body. Therefore, it’s essential to promote healthy biofilms in the gut and reduce your chances of developing harmful biofilms in other areas of the body with good (but not excessive) hygiene, a strong immune system, and a healthy diet. Managing biofilms in your body often requires actions specific to the tissue or area, like brushing your teeth. Consult your healthcare practitioner if you suspect harmful biofilms may be affecting your health.

Research is still emerging for solutions to biofilms in difficult to reach tissues, so there aren’t any hard and fast recommendations to address them. That said, aromatic phytochemicals like thymol, eugenol, carvacrol, and cymene have distinct biofilm-inhibiting properties, and they’re easy to incorporate into your diet.

Consume herbs and spices like thyme, oregano, and cloves to get these beneficial phytochemicals, along with many conutrients like terpenes, into your diet. You can consume the oils of these spices by adding a tiny drop to a pot of fragrant tea or a large jar of homemade salad dressing. Look to your food first to preserve your health. Relying on a diverse health-promoting diet provides you with a complementary array of active phytonutrients that offer a multi-pronged approach to keep you in excellent health.

The opposite of symbiosis is dysbiosis. .  Dysbiosis is gut flora imbalance. It is a term for a microbial imbalance or maladaptation and impaired microbiota. For example, a part of the human microbiota, such as the skin flora, gut flora, or vaginal flora, can become deranged and cause many problems, including anxiety, depression, autoimmune, inflammation, diarrhea or constipation (just to list a few).  Too many bad gut bugs and too few good gut bugs are implicated in many chronic diseases.

To understand the connections between diet, the colon,the bugs and one’s overall health, let’s first look at the metabolic fate of a meal as it travels through your system.   The digestive journey consists of the stomach, small intestine, and colon. The colon is also called the “large intestine,”  but it really is just a larger version of the small intestine.

The stomach is the dissolver, the small intestine the absorber, and the colon a transformer. These distinct functions help explain why microbial communities of the stomach, small intestine, and colon are as different from one another as an open pasture is to a dense ancient forest.

The DISCOLVER – Gastric acids start dissolving the bits of food as it lands in the stomach. On the pH scale, where 7 is neutral and lower values are more acidic, the stomach is impressive ranging in PH from 1 to 3.   Lemon juice and white vinegar are about a 2. Bacteria can not live is this acid environment. As far as we know, only one bacterium (Helicobacter pylori) thrives in the caustic environment of the stomach.

THE ABSORBER – The food slurry liquid slides down into the small intestine. The liver squirts bile to break down the fats. The pancreas too making it like a gushing river.   The sausage-like loops of the small intestine provide an entirely different type of habitat for your microbiota than the stomach.  The acidity drops off rapidly and, in combination with all the nutrients, the abundance of bacteria shoots up, to 10,000 times more than that in the stomach. But conditions still aren’t ideal for bacteria in the small intestine. It’s too much a white water of a river.   And understandably so, considering that about seven quarts of bodily fluids, consisting of saliva, gastric and pancreatic juices, bile, and intestinal mucus flow through it every day.

THE TRANSFORMER – By the middle to lower reaches of your small intestine, the fats, proteins, and some of the carbohydrates in the  slurry are sufficiently broken down for absorption and pass into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall. But, not all the slurry is digestible by humans….the complex carbohydrates have a completely different fate than simple carbohydrates.  We call that fibre.

A bit about fibre.    We have heard that fibre is good but most people only consider them when their stools are difficult to pass.  Fibre, complex carbohydrates, are called polysaccharides. In nature, it is these polysaccharides that allow plants to stand tall and resist the onslaught of natures weatherings of winds and waters and temperature differences.. The polysaccharide found in in every plant cell on this planet is called cellulose,  It gives plants strength and resilience. By virtue of the great number of plants on the planet, cellulose actually wins the prize for most abundant biochemical compound on Earth.

So, now let’s go back to the transformer, the colon.  While it is the end of the digestive journey it is the beginning for our colony of bacteria loaded with the polysaccharide-busting enzymes that human’s lack.. Deep within the colon folds are microbial alchemists that ferment the complex carbohydrates for our benefit.

The human digestive story simplified……once food is broken down in the stomach, simple carbohydrates and most fats and proteins are absorbed in the small intestine. The rest travels tot he colon where  bacteria ferment complex carbohydrates.  The result is the thriving of good guys bacterial metabolites that play an extremely important role in human immunity.

Everyone’s microbiome is very unique…but we do know that a healthy microbiome is absolutely essential for health…and an unhealthy microbiome is perhaps linked to most (if not all) dis-ease.

So, let’s get our gut bacteria healthy and happy with the 1, 2, 3

  1. Remove/reduce the bag guys (detoxification)
  2. Feed the good guys Prebiotics- Probiotics- Fibre
  3. CLEAN AND NOURISH THE GUT and its’ good inhabitants.

Two things to consider in this understanding….the colonies of your gut are as unique as your fingerprint and while it is good to clean the and nourish your gut, don’t kill the good guys!

Tending the garden of our microbiome doesn’t mean forgoing modern medicine. Realistically though, it’s going to take some time to align medical practices and therapies so that they work with our microbiome. In the meantime, we need to ensure we start out with a healthy microbiome and then maintain it with a diet rich in prebiotics. And if our microbiota take a hit, whether after antibiotics,bad guy infiltration, illness, or maybe even a colonoscopy, we might consider doing what a gardener does and replant what we’ve lost and help them get established. In the end, it boils down to some simple advice. Starve your enemies and feed your friends. And don’t kill off your allies that help keep the enemies in check.

Indeed, dysbiosis, the opposite of symbiosis, is now under investigation as a primary contributing factor to a long list of maladies. Among these ailments are leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as obesity, certain cancers, asthma, allergies, autism, cardiovascular disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, depression, and multiple sclerosis. Still, it is clear that exploring the microbiome is opening doors to potential treatments and cures for many modern sicknesses—including ways to kick our agrochemical habit.The microbial code within our body is out of sight and out of mind—until it crashes, and an error message pops up, or systems that once worked well start to fail. And it’s no secret that software errors are hard to fix if you don’t have the source code. We’re only beginning to understand the language of microbial ecology and the biological programming built over the long haul of evolution. So perhaps we should think twice about doing away with code we don’t understand.

It does make a lot of common sense that as our food system has been altered, our soils depleted and much focus on high yield crops, the health of the human family has declined.   So, the answer is logically, grow your own or support a local who does, compost and care for the soils, and eat fully organic, natural food.  In addition to including sprouts and mircogreens is our diet, we need to get over our fear of “dirt” and “germs”.

Nature is not out there in some distant and faraway land. She is closer than we ever imagined, right inside of us…and as we are destroying the nature out there, we are doing so inside too.

While everyone’s gut colony is unique, there are t principals of gut repair:

  1. Remove: problem foods, parasites, bad bugs or yeast.  I also suggest for a limited time being remove all dairy, soy, whey, gluten, rice or wheat products.  (4 wk protocol)
  2. Replace: digestive enzymes and/or digestive acid and cofactors/micronutrients. HCL Enzyme Elixirs
  3. Repopulate: probiotics (bifido, lactobacillus, etc) and  prebiotics. Fermented Foods, Fibre
  4. Repair and nourish the colon: aloe, glutamine, zinc, phoschol, whey or colostrum (if not dairy sensitive), antioxidants, vit D, omega 3 fats, bone broth (collagen) etc.MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT HAVE A LEAKY GUT: If you do not know what I am talking about here, take a few minutes to read my post about Dr. Oz’s program on LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. If you have a “Leaky Gut” (the medical community refers to this as “Increased Intestinal Permeability”), all bets are off as far as your ability to get well is concerned — unless you deal with it first. There are now several companies, including Cyrex, who make simple, inexpensive tests for this commonly overlooked, but very serious problem.CUT THE SUGAR: If you have any sort of Gut problem or DYSBIOSIS (too many bad bacteria or yeast and not enough good bacteria), you will have to dry up their food source if you hope to make headway. This will probably mean cutting back not only on SUGAR and HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX CARBOHYDRATES, but on many different fruits as well. This is another of the reasons I so heavily promote a PALEO DIET for most people struggling with Chronic Illness. Be aware that if you have Candida Yeast, you may have to get crazy strict with your carbohydrate restriction. Either way you slice it, a Paleo Diet high in both soluble and insoluble fiber is going to help you accomplish your goal, as these are the food-of-choice for the good bacteria living in your Gut.EAT FERMENTED FOODS: Some of those that I use or have used in the past include Sauerkraut, Beet Kavass (my favorite), Kombucha, Kefier (hopefully you have access to RAW MILK), as well as a host of others. I strongly advise people — as much as it is possible — to make their own. The internet is full of information and recipes on this topic.

    GARDEN: Gardening is an oft-forgotten link in the whole Gut Health dilema. The very same bacteria in your organically maintained garden are the bacteria that will be (or at least should be) widely found in your Gut. This is why I told you a number of months ago to EAT DIRT!

    EXERCISE: In case you did not see it, a recent study said that REGULAR EXERCISE dramatically increases both the numbers of good bacteria in the Gut, as well as the numbers of different strains of good bacteria in the Gut. Both are critical for good health.

    STOOL TRANSPLANTS: Gulp! Did I just say what you think I said? Yes I did. HERE and HERE are a couple of articles. Bear in mind that these articles are for informational purposes only, and should not be acted upon without the express written consent of your physician.

    TAKE A QUALITY PROBIOTIC: If you are taking “Acidophilus”, you are probably missing the boat on this one. Acidophilus is the name of one single strain of bacteria. We use a probiotic that contains about 20 different strains of HSO’s (Homeostatic Soil Organisms) — the most common bacteria found in organic soil. Just remember; it’s not that probiotics are somehow bad, but that they are probably not enough — especially for those of you who are chronically ill

    PREBIOTIC FOODS (FIBER)
    Include asparagus, bananas and fruit, burdock root, chives, garlic, leeks, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, legumes, eggplant, honey.

NOTE: Glyphosate kills good gut bugs by more than one mechanism. Glyphosate also disrupts manganese, which can lead to osteoporosis. Manganese is also needed for dopamine synthesis and is needed by lactobacillus. More information on this video.

Further Reading
Bowel Biofilms: Tipping Points between a Healthy and Compromised Gut?  

Bacterial Adhesion: Seen Any Good Biofilms Lately?

Click on the tabs below for the recipes, nutritional needs, best sprouts, herbs and tinctures

The most beneficial to take probiotics is in naturally fermented food that house the bacteria themselves, the probiotics.

Many different fermented foods are embodiments of dense and biodiverse microbial communities, which interact with our microbiome in ways we are just beginning to recognize. This interaction can improve digestion, immune function, mental health, and many other aspects of our well-being.

Katz, Sandor Ellix. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 397-400). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Probiotics also produce bacteriocidins, which can inhibit the growth of bad bugs.

If you are choosing probiotic supplements, get enteric coated capsules and remember more is not always better. There have been case reports of systemic infection by certain probiotics in susceptible individuals.   Probiotics need to work with prebiotics…feed your good bugs with plenty of fiber.

Some strains tend to support constipation, while others can support diarrhea. Methane producing bacteria tend to promote constipation. Too much hydrogen sulfide gas, on the other hand, tends to promote diarrhea, and may be linked with leaky gut, fatigue and fibromyalgia.

Probiotics
Bacillus coagulans: reduces pain and inflammation.
Bacillus fragilis: May help seal leaky gut, decrease symptoms of autism, and decrease anxiety.
Bacillus mesentericus: May assist in maintaining remission and improving symptoms in Ulcerative Colitis. May stimulate the Th1 immune response, downregulate pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha) and upregulate anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10). Found in AOR probiotic-3.
Bifidobacterium bifidum: Protective against allergy. Enhances B-cell IgA secretion while reducing IgE production. Helps protect against C diff. Growth supported by red grapes, inulin.
Bifidobacterium breve: Increases T reg cells, reduces inflammation. Helpful in reducing postoperative sepsis. Helps degrade mucin. Antagonizes Campylobacter jejuni and rotavirus. Growth supported by red grapes, inulin.
Bifidobacterium infantis: Mainly found in infants’ guts and less frequently in adults. Is anti-inflammatory. Breaks down histamine. Growth supported by red grapes, inulin.
Bifidobacterium longum: Metabolizes oligosaccharides. Antagonizes toxic E coli. Decreases inflammation in ulcerative colitis. Breaks down histamine. Growth supported by blueberries, red grapes, inulin.
Clostridium butyricum: May assist in maintaining remission and improving symptoms in Ulcerative Colitis. May stimulate the Th1 immune response, downregulate pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha) and upregulate anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10). Helps produce butyric acid. Found in AOR probiotic-3.
Lactobacillus acidophilus: Helps break down lactose, gluten and casein. Growth supported by blueberries.
Lactobacillus brevis: Can produce ethanol. Also produces arginine deaminase which breaks down arginine and reduces polyamines which are carcinogens.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus: Supports an anti-inflammatory environment and helps reduce LDL cholesterol oxidation. Produces histamine.
Lactobacillus casei (Shirota): Helps break down gluten. Reduces inflammation and lowers TNF-alpha, IL6 and IL12 cytokine levels while raising IL10. Suppresses Th1. Helpful in reducing postoperative sepsis. Antagonizes H pylori. Produces histamine and tyramine.
Lactobacillus crispatus: protective against HIV infection.
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus: Produces histamine.
Lactobacillus gasseri: Produces hydrogen peroxide. Helps antagonize clostridium, listeria, and enterococcus.
Lactobacillus paracasei: Decreases numbers of Enterobacteriaceae and Enterococcus while promoting growth of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterum, and Bacteroides, thus reducing expression of TNF-a, IL1b, and IL6, and causing an anti-inflammatory effect. Produces lactic acid. Antagonizes clostridium difficile and staph aureus.
Lactobacillus plantarum: Is supported by a diet high in fruit and vegetables. Antagonizes clostridium difficile. Supports the gut barrier. Helps induce IL12, and decreases inflammation. Breaks down histamine.
Lactobacillus reuteri: improves well-being but no change in inflammatory markers. Does promote T reg cells. May help make B12.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus: improves well-being but no large change in inflammatory markers. May mildly decrease intrahepatic lymphocytes and TNF-a expression in a high-fat diet model and protect microvilli in alcohol exposure. Helps stabilize mast cells. Antagonizes rotavirus and clostridium difficile.
Lactobacillus salivarius: Stimulates IL10 which is anti-inflammatory. Supports the gut barrier. Increases calcium absorption.
Saccharomyces boulardii: Known as ‘the yeast against yeast’. Helps strengthen tight junctions and lower low grade inflammation.
Streptococcus faecalis : May assist in maintaining remission and improving symptoms in Ulcerative Colitis. May stimulate the Th1 immune response, downregulate pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha) and upregulate anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10). Found in AOR probiotic-3.
Streptococcus thermophilus: Can metabolize lactose. Helps inhibit pathogenic bacteria.

Prebiotics are another name for polysaccharides that bacteria ferment, and the volunteers assigned to the plant-based diet ate plenty of them.    To nutritionists, prebiotics are fibre and they bemoan how little most Americans eat.

The recommendation for women is about 25 grams per day and about 38 grams per day for men. But few of us, only about 3 percent, come close to doing so.   A good article on high fibre foods .

The value of prebiotics lies in the indigestibility of dietary fibre. Some polysaccharides, like cellulose, are structural, and abundant in the leafy part of a plant. Other polysaccharides serve as a plant’s energy depot, like amylose, which is common in root crops like potatoes and carrots. The skin of apples and pears contains yet another polysaccharide, pectin, while onions and garlic are the source of a common prebiotic called inulin.

All these polysaccharides provide gut microbiota with a supply of things to ferment that keeps them alive.

For most people around the world, plants have always been and will likely remain the main source of prebiotics. Humanity’s great cereal grains are the seeds of plants in the Poaceae, or grass, family. They are rich in cellulose and also contain lesser amounts of other fermentable carbohydrates. Eaten in their whole form, they make excellent prebiotics, but if refined, they are transformed into simple sugars and absorbed before reaching the colon. Adding more prebiotics to your diet can support, or even change, your beneficial gut microbiota.

Probiotics are usually thought of in terms of their potential to help out with gut problems, whether due to the aftermath of antibiotics, a bug picked up while traveling, or some type of chronic inflammation.

It is wise to use food as a vehicle for getting probiotics into the body. Cabbages are a popular fermentable vegetable these days. Set lactobacilli loose on fresh cabbage submerged in water and lots of salt, and it will soon be brimming with life. A few lactobacilli can blossom into many in no time at all, as long as they have something to ferment. Eat your sauerkraut or kimchi and some of the lactobacilli join the others down in your colon—and some may turn up other places too.

The seeds of the world’s major cereal crops (grains) are a good place to start, as they account for the lion’s share of what the world eats. Lucky for us, grains offer a nearly perfect nutritional package. Whether wheat, barley, or rice, all have the basics—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with many of the vitamins and minerals essential for health. They also contain many phytochemicals. So why do grains get such a bad rap these days? Much of the problem lies with what we do to grains in the field (chemicals and fertilizers) after they are harvested. Just as we now know that some fats are better for us than others, the same is true for carbohydrates. As we have seen, the sugars found in simple carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed in the small intestine, whereas the sugars that make up complex carbohydrates pass on through.

As you adapt to consuming more prebiotics you should start slowly phasing in foods high in fibers (but avoid some of the other foods such as sugar alcohols, lactose and fructose). Inulin, chicory, fructans and FOS are all fibers made up of oligofructose. Note the word “fructose” is part of oligofructose, that is what can make it problematic for some people; not so much that it bothers us directly, but that it can more easily feed the wrong kinds of bacteria that might be lurking in the gut. Once the gut is better balanced, and these unwanted strains of bacteria are greatly reduced, many people can start tolerating these foods better. Oligofructose is a great prebiotic for beneficial bacteria too, so it is worth it to keep trying to adapt to it. If you can’t tolerate it now, try again every month or so. Again, start slow, with small amounts, and slowly work your way up:

  • Garlic – an excellent choice to start with as it has many health benefits. Garlic helps to selectively rebalance the microbiome, improves the immune system, and has a lot of evidence showing anticancer properties. Best consumed raw for the medicinal benefits, but cooked garlic is still great for the prebiotic fiber.
  • Asparagus – contains inulin. Inulin is not very selective, in other words, if you have bad bacteria lurking about it may feed them too. Just start slow, eventually your beneficial bacteria will push out the bad.
  • Jicama Root – contains inulin
  • Onion – again, start slow as it contains both inulin and FOS
  • Jerusalem Artichoke – high in inulin
  • Chicory Root – high in inulin
  • Dandelion Greens – it has inulin, but isn’t overly high in it

Phages: When the phages kill unwanted bacteria in the gut, the cells of those dead bacteria become a delicious prebiotic food for the good bacteria. This has actually been shown in research.

FOODS THAT FIGHT ALLERGIES

While some foods may aggravate allergies, there are other foods that fight allergies. According to Prevention, a nutritious diet can help control underlying inflammation, dilate air passages, and thin mucus in the lungs. Here are some of the top foods that fight allergies.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 essential fatty acids contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed oil, salmon, haddock, cod, and other cold-water fish. Another essential acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), also acts as an anti-inflammatory, and it can be found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant seed oil. If possible, include more of both of these fatty acids in your diet.

On the flip side, too much Omega-6 fatty acid may intensify inflammation. Most people in our society need more Omega-3 fatty acids and less Omega-6 fatty acids. Foods high in Omega-6 fatty acids include cottonseed, corn, and sunflower oils, as well as processed foods like mayonnaise, salad dressing, and fast food. Saturated fats and trans fats also trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals. Avoiding foods that contains partially hydrogenated oil is not only good for your waistline but also helpful in combating allergies. Try to use monosaturated olive oil as your primary source of fat.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are rich sources of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, but read the label to make sure that it’s real juice and not a bottle of corn syrup. An even better suggestion is to eat whole fruit. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet without taking a supplement. Berries have especially high levels of antioxidants.

High-Fiber Foods

A high-fiber diet makes for a healthy colon. A low-fiber diet produces a lazy colon that’s more susceptible to disease. High-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, and seeds stimulate movement in the colon and encourage the growth of “good” bacteria. In an unhealthy colon, “bad” bacteria and fungal organisms like candida may take over, which for some, could lead to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome can be a precursor to food allergies and chemical sensitivities.

Yogurt & Kefir

Another way to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut is to eat them directly. Yogurt and kefir contain live bacterial cultures. In one University of California study, allergic symptoms declined by 90 percent when patients were fed 18 to 24 ounces of yogurt a day. If you’re trying to avoid dairy products, opt for a probiotic supplement.

Spices

Certain spices are also foods that fight allergies. Spices like turmeric and ginger are known anti-inflammatory agents that can help tamp down the overactive immune response, indicative of allergic disease.

Magnesium and Zinc

Some studies have shown that people who have asthma are often deficient in magnesium and zinc. Foods rich in magnesium include spinash, navy and pinto beans, sunflower seeds, tofu, halibut, artichokes, and black-eyed peas. Additionally, foods rich in zinc include yogurt, tofu, lean beef and ham, oysters, crab, and the dark meat of turkey and chicken.

The Mediterranean Diet

A recent study showed that children who ate high levels of Mediterranean diet foods were 66 percent less likely to have runny noses and itchy eyes. A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fish, but low in red meat. Children on the Mediterranean island of Crete rarely have allergies or asthma.

Grapes in particular seem to protect against allergies and asthma. Red grape skin has high levels of resveratol, an anti-inflammation, as well as antioxidants. In plants like grapes, resveratrol helps to restore and heal plants that have been attacked by pathogens like bacteria or fungi. Conversely, high consumption of margarine, doubled the chances of asthma and allergies in study participants.

Another recent study showed that mothers who eat apples during pregnancy have a significantly reduced risk of their children developing asthma, and mothers who eat fish during pregnancy have children with lower incidents of eczema. Do you see a common theme? Many of these foods will appear multiple time. While each is unique most are beneficial in at least couple ways to anyone coping with allergies, asthma, or other allergic diseases. Lastly, you may also notice that many of the foods that fight allergies are typically better for your overall health. High in nutrients and minerals, often free of excess fats or sugars, these foods can be a part of a healthy diet for anyone.

“People with nasal allergies or asthma may want to add broccoli sprouts to their diets, if early research findings pan out.

In a study of 65 healthy volunteers, researchers found that an oral preparation made from broccoli sprouts trigger an increase in inflammation-fighting enzymes in the upper airways. The credit appears to go to a compound called sulforaphane, which is found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
Sulforaphane triggers an increase in antioxidant enzymes that help counter cell damage and inflammation brought on by oxidative stress — from sources like air pollution and environmental allergens.

“Based on this study, compounds in broccoli sprouts have a very potent effect in boosting the airway’s self-defense system against oxidative stress,” explained lead researcher Dr. Marc A. Riedl, an assistant professor at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.”

Reuters
March 10, 2009
Broccoli sprouts may soothe airway inflammation
Norton, Amy
http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/03/10/us-broccoli-sprouts-soothe-airway-inflam-idUSTRE5295MD20090310

  • Mushrooms – all types, all varieties. Focus on those with more medicinal properties, such as: Chaga, Cordyceps, Enoki, Lion’s Mane, Oyster, Reishi, Shiitake, Turkey Tail. But your standard button mushrooms are OK as well. Again, variety is best. Mushrooms contain “resistant sugars”, polysaccharides that feed beneficial bacteria but not us. Some of these polysaccharides, such as beta-glucans, help train, and target, the immune system and are very beneficial for gut health. The medicinal mushrooms also have strong anticancer properties and are immunomodulators; so don’t just stick to button mushrooms when cooking.
  • Seaweed – Extraordinary health benefits. Fucoidan is an active ingredient in brown seaweed and fucoidan supplements can also be very useful. Both can serve as a very beneficial prebiotic food for our beneficial bacteria. Research on brown seaweed is showing some pretty significant benefits for the immune system (which can be an important factor in healing the gut and reducing inflammation). Brown Seaweed can be chopped up and used in soups and stews where it is barely noticeable, it also comes in flakes that can be hidden in many soups, salads, or casseroles. Brown Seaweed has both immune system enhancing and anticancer properties; it is worth including in your diet.
  • Konjac Root – contains a type of fiber called glucomannan. Glucomannan is less likely to cause gut irritation than the FODMAP fibers. Glucomannan can be used as a food ingredient to thicken soups and stews, or you can take it as a supplement. It can add much needed variety to your prebiotic diet.
  • Cocoa – Yes, the main ingredient in chocolate is high in soluble fiber. Cocoa is also high in polyphenols which are known to improve the immune system. Be sure to use a natural product with no added sugars or dairy. This the cacao product that I use.
  • Flaxseeds – High in soluble fiber. Make sure you use milled flaxseed, otherwise it just passes right through you and the soluble fiber remains unusable.
  • Turmeric – can be used in many savory dishes, it doesn’t have to be used just in Indian food. Turmeric imparts very little flavor, most people will only suspect it is in the food due to the yellow / orange color it imparts. Just sprinkle in soups, stews, casseroles, etc., before cooking, until it changes the color of the food. Start slow (light color) and add a little more next time you cook. Turmeric is most beneficial when cooked with a bit of oil/fat and black pepper.
  • Cooked Brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower are all very good choices (see Chapter 2 in The Gut Health Protocol for more choices). The point of the above is get you to expand the variety of foods you consume
Beans and Legumes

Though the book somewhat discourages the consumption of beans and legumes, this should be temporary, only lasting through the kill phase and perhaps the first month or two of the healing and repair phase. Beans and legumes are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients. They are also high in carbs, so if you are going low carb just skip this section. It should also be noted that beans can be histamine liberating for some people.  Beans should only be added if you feel your gut is in pretty good shape, you can tolerate other  fibers (such as garlic and inulin), and any histamine intolerance is mostly under control. However, for most people, beans are a very healthy choice if prepared properly.

Beans contain antinutrients (such as phytate / phytic acid and lectin), but this risk can be mostly eliminated through proper soaking before cooking. Though there are various methods for this, I think some of these methods may not be adequate. Here are the four most common ways of addressing the antinutrient issue:

  • Sprout your beans – this is an excellent way to reduce the antinutrients and gas producing starches in beans. However, sprouting is more work and requires planning ahead. This is not something I personally have time for. But there are plenty of instructions, and YouTube videos out there if you want to give it a try.
  • Overnight soak – this is the traditional way of soaking beans and it does help. It even removes some of the indigestible oligosaccharides, such as raffinose and stachyose. But many experts now believe this doesn’t help as much as we would like.
  • Quick soak stove – Bring water to a boil and cook the beans for 1 minute, remove from heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain the beans and cook as normal. I don’t think this method is very effective as boiling for 1 minute won’t soften the interior of the bean at all, so it is unlikely to change the indigestible starches there.
  • Pressure cooker fast soak – This is the method I use. Remove any debris from the beans, rinse, add beans to the pressure cooker . Add water to cover the beans, plus one inch. Pressure cook for 3 minutes, do a quick release when done, drain, rinse well, return to beans to the pressure cooker, and cook as normal (there are many recipes online).
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