Is there such thing as eating too clean?
So you eat clean. Great! You eat clean consistently. Great! You eat the same clean foods consistently. Not so great. Eating too many of the same types of foods, even the cleanest foods, can alter your gut bacteria and leave you feeling bloated. Sound familiar?
Your gut needs change
80% of your immune system resides in your gut lining. The bacteria in your gut (your gut microbiome) interacts with your gut lining frequently. It’s common knowledge that in order to build immunity to something, we need to expose our bodies to it. The same applies with your gut. If you don’t expose your gut to a range of ingredients, it will weaken and potentially react more strongly when it is exposed. A strong gut microbiome relies on richness (the total number of bacteria) and biodiversity (the amount of each individual bacteria).
A lack of diversity can lead to disease
A gut that is not diverse in the amount of bacteria it contains can actually lead to disease. Obesity is often associated with a lack of gut diversity. High cholesterol, Crohn’s disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and more are all illnesses that can result from low gut diversity.
How to diversify your gut bacteria
It goes without saying that our society struggles with many more gut health issues than our ancestors. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that our food diversity has dropped 75% in the last 100 years. Decades ago, when we played the role of hunters and gatherers, we were actually operating from a standpoint of optimal gut health. This is one of the reasons Paleo diet trends came back with such force.
Here’s how you can diversify your food and optimize your gut health today:
Eat seasonally – The paleo diet ensures diversity by eating seasonally and focusing on seasonally fresh ingredients. This is a great way to diversify your diet. Look to see what fruits and vegetables are the most in season this summer and incorporate them into your daily diet. Peaches, plums, cherries, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are all great this season. Change it up in the fall, winter and spring as new ingredients become more prevalent.
Focus on fiber – It’s also very important to ensure you are increasing your fiber intake. A high fiber diet allows our gut microbes to thrive and increases the number of bacteria in our gut – diversity! As mentioned above, the more bacteria in our gut, the stronger our immune system is. Vegetables, chia seeds and fruits are all a great source of fiber. Specifically key high fiber vegetables include artichokes, leeks and onions.
Intermittent fasting – A great way to create more good bacteria in our bodies is actually to avoid snacking and shortening our feeding period. By giving our microbes a break, we actually protect our gut from the bad bacteria that can lead to inflammation.
Athlete’s Kitchen can help you get all set up in developing a meal plan that will increase gut diversity. Picking from a range of meal plans will allow you to enjoy healthy portions of proteins, fats and carbs without your gut ever getting bored! Get started today!
Writer and Health and Wellness addict