Sakara Explains the Microbiome
The microbiome: this buzzy term refers to the trillions of microbes in and on the human body (including six pounds in the gut) that influence digestion, nutrient absorption, hormone balance, energy levels, skin clarity, moods, weight, cravings, immunity and overall vitality. According to the National Institutes of Health, you have 10 times as many bacterial cells in your body as human ones! There are both symbiotic (good) and pathogenic (bad) varieties—and the good kind thrive on plant fiber. Eating a clean, plant-rich diet and taking a high-quality probiotic will help you cultivate a diverse and thriving gut microbiome, thereby improving overall health.
THE POWER OF THE MICROBIOME
“To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial. And it appears increasingly likely that this “second genome,” as it is sometimes called, exerts an influence on our health as great and possibly even greater than the genes we inherit from our parents. But while your inherited genes are more or less fixed, it may be possible to reshape, even cultivate, your second genome.” —Michael Pollan, author/journalist, The New York Times
THE HEALTHY-GUT SHOPPING LIST
The next time you hit the grocery store (to stock up for those days between Sakara deliveries), add these under-the-radar, microbiome-loving superfoods to your cart:
- Coconut kefir
- Dandelion greens
- Apple cider vinegar
- Kimchi, sauerkraut and/or other cultured veggies (unpasteurized)
PROBIOTIC CHEAT SHEET
A plant-based diet goes a long way toward helping you achieve optimal gut health, but what about probiotics? Do you need one? How do you choose one? We’re here to tell you to put down the Greek yogurt and read this before adding a probiotic supplement to your routine.
FYI: Probiotics refer to strains of beneficial bacteria that influence digestion, nutrient absorption, immunity, hormone balance, energy levels, moods, skin clarity and disease risk. A daily, high-quality probiotic supplement can help cultivate a healthy and diverse gut microbiome, ensuring the best strains of bacteria are alive and well while crowding out the troublesome, pathogenic ones.
But there’s one very important caveat: If those good bacteria don’t have the nourishment they need, they won’t be able to thrive. Take care of them (so they can take care of you!) by eating plenty of plant fiber, which acts as a prebiotic, i.e. food for your healthy gut microbes. You can also choose a probiotic that contains prebiotic ingredients yacon root or Jerusalem artichoke.
GUIDELINES FOR A GREAT PROBIOTIC
According to our go-to gut health expert, Dr. Robynne Chutkan, your probiotic should…
- contain at least 50 billion CFUs (colony-forming units)
- have multiple compatible strains of bacteria
- come with protective enteric coating on the pills
GUIDE TO PROBIOTIC STRAINS
FOR BLOAT: Lactobacillus casei
FOR GI ISSUES: Lactobacillus rhamnosus
FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH: Lactobacillus acidophilus
FOR IBS: Lactobacillus salivarius
FOR IMMUNITY: Streptococcus thermophilus
FOR ALLERGIES: Bifidobacterium longum
FOR CELIAC: Bifidobacterium lactis
DID YOU KNOW?
Your gut really does have a mind of its own; there are over 100 million brain cells residing in your microbiome! It also inhabits its own nervous system and contains the vagus nerve, in which 90 percent of the fibers carry information from the gut to the brain, and the brain interpret these signals as emotions (gut feelings aren't just an expression!) Add to the fact that 95% of your serotonin (the happy molecule) also lives within your microbiome, and you've truly got a whole universe in the center of your body guiding you, equally if not more so, than your brain. Tending to your gut flora could improve your mind, your memory, your skin, cravings + weight, serenity, happiness... which is why we wholeheartedly believe in putting so much love + intention into every forkful.