You Are What You Eat

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Rich Habit #4: I will devote part of each and every day in caring for my health

The food we eat passes from the mouth, to the esophagus, to the stomach, to the small intestine and finally into the large intestine. What remains, then passes into the colon (longest portion of the large intestine) and into the toilet.

During this entire process, there is a lot going on. The latest research on what happens in the large intestine, however, is turning medical science on its head.

The types of food you eat alters the makeup of the bacteria that lives in your large intestine. This bacteria is called the microbiome. The microbiome is responsible for extracting energy from the calories you consume. It also synthesizes vitamins out of the food you consume.

Having the right microbiome in your large intestine makes you healthy. Having the wrong microbiome in your large intestine causes colds, flues, upper respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and all sorts of other chronic diseases.

The microbiome in obese people is very different than the microbiome in thin people, according to Microbiologist Ruth Ley, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.

Obese people consume too much fat, too many carbohydrates and too little fiber. This high fat diet results in the accumulation of too much firmicutes, also known as obese microbiota, and too few bacteroidetes, also known as lean microbiota.

Ironically, the firmicutes microbiota are able to extract more energy from every calorie, storing the excess in fat cells, causing you to gain weight. Bacteroidetes, conversely, are unable to extract as much energy from every calorie as firmicutes, and the rest is discharged in the form of stool. Those who consume food which contains more bacteroidetes than firmicutes, are leaner. Those who consume food which contains more firmicutes than bactericides, are fatter.

The Right Food

Two third’s of your diet needs to be high in fiber (plant-based and fruit-based) in order for the right microbiome to thrive. Yogurt is also a rich source of the right microbiota. The other one third is everything else: meat, bread, sweets, junk food, etc. High fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables, contain lean microbiota. You can also find these lean microbiota in supplements known as probiotics, which line the shelves of drug stores and retail outlets.

Probiotic supplements allow you to consume bacteria found in fruit and vegetables. The jury is still out as to whether or not the bacteria in these probiotics are able to survive the highly acidic environment inside the stomach in order to make their way to the large intestine, where most of the microbiota lives.

Microbiota survive inside the large intestine by eating the otherwise undigestible plant and fruit fibers that make their way from the stomach to the large intestine. So, fruits and vegetables not only provide you with the right microbiota, they also are a food source for these good microbiota.

Food for thought.


1 Comment

  1. Diane on November 29, 2021 at 10:53 AM

    A great food for thought article. I’m encouraged to eat healthier! Thanks!