We love traditions in our family. Every Christmas my mom always made a Christmas braid which was a giant concoction of cinnamon, nuts, and bread topped with a creamy frosting. I kind of changed the recipe with my family and made it from sprouted grains, and this year I decided to break with tradition and make something new. My two older kids have moved to California, and we are also in the process of moving there, but I miss them something awful this Christmas so I had to make something new to ease my pain. I may not have my whole family under my roof this Christmas, but I do still have my microbes and they’re 100 trillion in numbers, so I decided to focus on feeding them since they’re kind of like my children, too.
So what do my personal microbes like to eat? Prebiotics, which are mostly fiber. My microbes love them, and they add virtually no calories; but my microbes take this fiber, digest it, and make more microbes in my body that grow by leaps and bounds. Overall it is the best way to stay healthy by feeding those microbes. The bacteria living inside are essential to your immune system. Your gut is host to thousands of bacteria species in a complex ecosystem. It’s like a vast rainforest thriving and organizing every day of your life, and yes doing it’s thing on Christmas morning- regardless of the day.
Foods that microbes love
Here are some of the foods microbes love and the first one is oats! A substance in the oats, known as beta glucan, helps these microbes to grow and multiply.1 One study was done on whole grains, and included oats, that followed more than 100,000 people who were questioned on what they ate each day. The researchers saw that every one-ounce serving of whole grains (oats or porridge) reduced a person’s overall risk of an early death by 5 percent, and their risk of death from heart disease by 9 percent. Published online Jan. 5, 2015, in JAMA Internal Medicine, they stated, “We saw clear evidence that the more whole grain intake, the lower the mortality rate is,” said Dr. Qi Sun, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “When we looked at risk of death from heart disease, there was an even stronger association.”
The FDA for many years has allowed a health claim for oats products stating: “There is scientific agreement soluble fiber from oat products when added to a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease.” Oats will feed your microbes and make them grow so they can help you with a myriad of health benefits.
Microbes eat cholesterol
Feed those microbes because they’re the ones that can break down these soluble fibers and use them to create more microbes that prevent disease. Did you know that certain microbes eat cholesterol, thereby lowering it throughout the body? Good bacteria consume (soluble) fiber in the small intestines and create acids, one of which is called proprionic acid. This particular acid reduces production of cholesterol by the liver. Another way good microbes bring down cholesterol levels is that as bacteria grow in the intestinal tract, they consume some of the cholesterol that is present, incorporating it into their own cells. This means the cholesterol becomes unavailable for absorption from the intestine into the bloodstream, naturally lowering total cholesterol.
Pumpkin and pecans
Pumpkin has insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is what microbes love while insoluble is great at adding bulk to the stool and helping food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium which helps reduce risk of stroke, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Pecans are another wonderful fiber food for your microbes. Pecans contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats like oleic acid.2 One study, published in the August 2006 issue of Nutrition Research, found that pecans may help prevent coronary heart disease by inhibiting unwanted oxidation of blood lipids.3 Another study done at Loma Linda University (LLU) and issued in the January 2011 issue of The Journal of Nutrition found many similar results.
Kefir has the microbes you need
Kefir doesn’t feed your microbes, it is the microbes that will inhabit you. Eating prebiotic foods and topping it with my yummy kefir topping is the perfect breakfast for your inner world of vast and varied microbes. It’s fun, delicious, and your house smells like Christmas, while your microbes have a party all their own keeping you well each and every day! It’s important to feed your microbes — even on Christmas Day. God Bless them, everyone.
Here are some new breakfast recipes! So so good
Qi Sun, M.D., Sc.D., assistant professor of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.D., registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of nutrition, Boston University; Jan. 5, 2015, JAMA Internal Medicine, online