Start improving your gut health in as little as 24 hours
Updated: Dec 6, 2019
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Does diet effect the microbiome? How does the microbiome develop? We know that diet influences the environment in our gut, called the microbiome (1). We also know the balance of our microbiome is linked to many things from our moods to our risk for disease and especially to our skin health (see my previous post about this here). Much of the research we have available shows us the benefit of a healthy diet on the microbiome and gut health over longer periods of time. So, when we change our diet- how quickly can we really expect our digestive environment to react?
The answer is in as little as 24 hours according to a paper published in Cellular Metabolism (2)! You can start improving your gut health by changing your diet in as little as one day- that's incredible! Studies show a more favorable microbiome environment with a plant-based diet, however, there are many improvements you can start making without the full commitment of a strictly vegetarian diet. For my acne and digestive health clients, I usually recommend a low glycemic index, dairy free diet, high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans/legumes (if tolerated). I also have them remove any foods they're sensitive to. However, this type of diet isn't appropriate for everyone so as a general rule of thumb I'll be giving you my suggestions to start below.
1. Include lots of cruciferous veggies!
Research shows cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts have protective benefits for detoxification (3) and other health conditions like cancer (4). These vegetables (plus garlic!) contain powerful substances to help support the liver during detoxification, which is essentially what we're doing when improving diet and gut health right- the "real" way to detox! Cruciferous veggies are also great short-chain fatty acid producers, meaning they produce fuel for the intestinal cells to keep your gut lining strong and sturdy (5)!
2. Add fermented, cultured or probiotic foods DAILY
Kimchi, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, brine-cured olives, Kombucha & Natto are just a few of the dairy free femented food options one could add to the diet for gut health. If you consume dairy, probiotic yogurts + Kefir are great options. The purpose of fermented and probiotic foods is to help re-balance the gut microbiome. Probiotics also have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (6)! (Want to make your own yogurt? My Instant Pot allows me to make homemade yogurts and breads in addition to using it for quick cooking! If you need recipes here's a great cookbook on how to add fermented foods into your diet!)
3. Include more servings of plants per day
Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans/legumes and lentils not only provide beneficial fuel for the intestinal cells but they also help promote a more desirable balance of gut bacteria. While the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day is currently at least 5, I actually recommend higher due to the decreased quality of soil and our food in general. Aim for at least 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day plus your other plant foods like nuts, seeds and beans/legumes! (A great way to add more plants in your diet is to replace other foods with them such as zucchini noodles or "zoodles", spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice. I'm in love with my veggie spiralizer exactly for this purpose!)
To get a jump start, grab my free eBook of 3 days of recipes & snack ideas to start improving your diet, skin and gut health!