👉 Tip #1: Five Things That Mess With Your Microbiome
As you all know by now, a healthy gut means a healthy you. The functions and benefits of a healthy gut microbiome are far reaching and very diverse. Aside from the sexy side benefits of not being bloated, belchy, gassy, constipated, or in my case not being able to button my pants or keep a zipper in the upright position following Mexican take out there are many health benefits to keeping your gut bacteria happy.
Here are some symptoms than may be due to an abnormal bacterial balance in your intestine:
- Autoimmune disease
- ADHD, Anxiety, Depression
- Neurodegenerative disease
- Breast and Colon cancer
- Heart disease
- IBS, Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis
- SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Heartburn and Reflux
- Obesity and Weight Loss Resistance
- Eczema, Psoriasis and Acne
- Thyroid disease
- PCOS, endometriosis, painful heavy periods and fibroids
So as you can see, the impact of a healthy gut is clear. Now, what sorts of things mess with having a healthy gut microbiome?
Here are my top 5 “AVOIDS”
Antibiotics — Clearly there is nothing that will wreck the balance of power in your intestinal tract more than even a single course of antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics not only wipe out the beneficial bacteria you have, but also make space for less savory characters to grow and take up residence. Think parasites, yeast, mean bacteria and nasty viruses. It’s literally a “there goes the neighborhood” scenario.
The Standard American Diet — The following is a list of “DON’T EAT THIS IF YOU WANT A HEALTHY MICROBIOME”
Refined Carbohydrates and Processed foods — these foods did not come off a tree, a plant or out of the ground. Wheat thins, pretzels, muffins, cake, cookies, bread, bagels, you get the picture. Did you take this out of a box or bag that didn’t require refrigeration? Does it have a shelf life of weeks, months or years? Then NO.
Artificial sweeteners —
Low fiber foods —
Sugar — of any kind (yes that includes honey, maple syrup, organic cane sugar, organic beet sugar and other obfuscating terms that still mean sugar)
Genetically modified foods — these are heavily contaminated with glyphosate pesticides. Remember, that’s the point of GMO’s – they withstand tons of pesticide exposure without dying!!!! Most of the following are automatically GMO foods — so make sure to go organic with these: corn, soybeans, canola oil, potatoes, papaya, sugar beets.
Pharmaceutical Medications — There are many medications that have the side effect of reducing gut bacterial diversity while increasing the representation of pathogenic strains of micro-organisms.
PPI’s or proton-pump inhibitors — These are the Nexiums and Prilosecs sitting in the medicine cabinet, or worse, in our purse or desk drawer at work. Acid is our first line of defense against nasty bugs making their way in with our food and water.
NSAIDS like Motrin, Advil or Aleve can wreak havoc on our intestinal lining, creating inflammation and leaky gut, 2 side effects that alter our beneficial gut bacteria.
Oral anti-fungals — like Diflucan have now led to colonization with drug resistant yeast species. In my own practice I see that Diflucan works less than half the time now for vaginal yeast infections.
Birth by C-Section — So, this is obviously not always a choice women have, but it is important to be aware how this type of birth can shape the gut microbiome of the baby. The first exposure to bacteria in life is supposed to be via the mom’s birth canal. Mom’s vaginal flora sets the stage for the baby’s intestinal microbiome.
Babies born by C-section have less beneficial bacterial diversity compared to babies born vaginally. Studies show that children born by c-section have higher rates of autism, asthma, allergies and obesity. The good news is that recent research suggests that giving the baby a prebiotic and probiotic combination helped c-section born babies develop a microbiome more in line with those of infants born vaginally.
Chronic Stress and Lack of Sleep — Animal studies show that chronic stress (like when animals got fired from their jobs or were going through a messy divorce) had reduced beneficial bacteria compared to non-stressed animals (who meditated 3 times a day and maintained a gratitude journal). Shift work and sleep deprivation are also responsible for altered gut microbiome. So, get those 8 hours and try to avoid circadian rhythm disruption.
Here are some helpful tips:
If you are constantly taking medications, figure out why you need to be on those medications. A functional medicine approach is a great way to get to the underlying cause.
If you need to take antibiotics, consider following it up with a microbiome rebuild. This includes eating PLENTY of diverse fruits and vegetables. You will get nowhere eating 3 leaves of iceberg lettuce, half a carrot and a celery sprig. You literally shouldn’t even be able to name that vegetable it is so unique and unusual. I would use a trifecta of prebiotics, probiotics and gut healing formulas to help restore a beneficial bacterial balance.
If you are pregnant, obviously you would ideally have a vaginal delivery, but if that isn’t in the cards, look into a new approach called “vaginal seeding” or at the very least, giving the baby breast milk to transfer your beneficial bacteria with the addition of supplemental prebiotics and probiotics. Vaginal seeding is definitely controversial and more studies are required, but food for thought.
Eat whole foods. Ta-dahhhhh!
Sleep 8 hours a night… AT night. Avoid shift work if at all possible. Get into bed by 10 pm. (As I stay up late to watch game of thrones and then dish about it with my husband for an hour)
Reduce stress. Because that’s SO easy to do. Here are some things to consider:
- Think of one thing that stresses you out in your life that you want to be different. If you can’t think of anything that would change in that regard, consider working with a life coach to figure out the steps to make change. Change is inevitable. It only stays the same if you make it that way.
- Infuse things that De-stress if getting rid of stress isn’t a slam dunk. Yoga, Walks outside, hiking (which is walking but with better shoes and a fanny pack carrying water and survival foods), pilates, praying, gratitude journaling, meditating, singing, laughing and hanging out with great friends.
- How do you react to stress? Like a raving, screaming, raging lunatic? Nothing against lunatics by the way. Or do you react like Ghandi with a smile and a loving countenance? Who’s really coming out ahead? I’m going with Ghandi having the better microbiome.
👉 Tip #2: Top Picks for Safe Sunscreens
There is definitely an ideal amount of sun exposure. Too little, and we don’t derive the health benefits of vitamin D. Plus we run the risk of looking anemic, pasty, and generally unwell.
Too much and we risk sunburn and skin cancer. Also not a good look. Especially the sunburn that leaves you with the raccoon eye appearance of sunglass use. But, back to my point.
The vast majority of sunscreen available in the US contain toxic chemicals, many of which are banned in Europe.
Sunscreen is unique among personal care products in that it is meant to remain on your skin for HOURS. Therefore looking for less toxic alternatives is critical.
Here is a list of sunscreens rated by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) as safe and effective.
So I probably could expound more on the topic, but I had to watch Game of Thrones next to last episode which was honestly worth the shortened post!!! I included brands that are available widely. Click here for an expanded list of brands rated by the EWG.
- MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Stick, Tinted, SPF 50
- Alba Botanica Facial Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 20
- All Good Sunstick, Unscented, SPF 30
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Lotion Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, SPF 50
- Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 45
- Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Lotion For Face, SPF 50
- Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com. Look! You are already here.
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!