Are you feeling lethargic, depressed or get ill easily? If you are, then
your body bacteria may be out of whack. "Your body contains a complex
ecosystem of bacteria, both good and bad, that when balanced, are vital
to your immune system, helping to protect you from disease and rid your
body of toxic waste," says
James Yoon, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. "But sometimes your diet can throw these systems out of balance.
As a result, your body reacts by developing conditions such as inflammation,
obesity, depression and many other chronic diseases."
So, what can you do to help restore balance to those bacterial ecosystems?
Step 1 - Drink more water. An excellent place to start is by eliminating sugar based fluids, such
as diet cola, regular cola, milk based products and stimulants such as
coffee and tea. Opt for water instead. “Drinking water can be boring,
and you’ll find that during the first week, you’ll crave those
sugary drinks and stimulants. That’s your body detoxing from all
those unnatural, addictive chemicals,” Dr. Yoon says. It’s
hard, but it’s worth it. Get through the first week, and you’ll
find those cravings slowly start to go away.
“Aside from helping to restore the bacterial balance in your belly,
water also has a host of other incredible benefits. It helps lift your
mood, brighten your skin, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles caused
by dehydration,” Dr. Yoon adds. The recommended minimum fluid consumption
per day is half of your body weight, in ounces. For example, if you are
140 pounds, then you should consume 70 ounces of water per day.
Step 2 - Remove processed sugars and grains from your diet and avoid processed
or pasteurized foods. “Yes, your body does need sugar to produce energy, but refined
sugars promote the growth of candida and other yeasts in the body, and
are known to fuel cancer cells,” Dr. Yoon states. They also contribute
to chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Some healthy sources
of sugar can be found in fruits and various root vegetables such as carrots
and beets. Some examples of processed grains include wheat, cereals, bread,
cakes and pretty much any food that cannot be either dug out of the ground
or picked off of a tree. Corn, although natural, is also known to irritate
the system, so it should be avoided.
Step 3 - Opt for unprocessed, natural carbs instead. A diet that is rich in unprocessed, natural carbohydrates helps to support
a healthy microbiome ecosystem and thus a healthy body. Potatoes, rice,
carrots, beets, fruits and vegetables are all excellent options.
Step 4 - Go pickled. Naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut and other pickled foods such
as pickled cucumbers or Korean kimchi also help to promote a healthy balance.
“As doctors, we talk so much about healthy diet and exercise. But
it’s not just a fad. Our bodies were designed to move around and
to consume foods that occur naturally. A balanced diet that includes essential
fats, proteins and carbohydrates is the best way to keep our immune systems
healthy, our emotional and mental environments balanced, and our guts
and bodies functioning properly,” Dr. Yoon says.
If you’re constantly feeling unwell and thinking about changing your
diet, talk to your health care provider first. Your doctor will be able
to pin point what is affecting your wellness, and advise whether switching
from your current diet to one that promotes healthier bacterial ecosystems
is the right choice for you.
To learn more about
Dr. Yoon. To find out more about
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group.
“A Mind of Your Own” by Kelly Brogan.