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Diversify the Diet to Diversify the Gut Microbiome


By now you've likely read from several sources that diversity in gut microbiota = better health. The more variety of gut bacteria we have, the greater the variety of functions they can perform, which logically equates to better metabolism of the foods we eat; better gut, brain, endocrine, you-name-it function, and better detoxification.

So, how do we diversify our gut microbiota? Different kinds of microbes prefer different kinds of food. The key to diversifying the microbiota is diversifying the diet. Eating a variety of fiber- and polyphenol-containing foods is a fantastic way of feeding a broad spectrum of our "old friends."

In the early 1990's, I had a neighbor who was having some health issues. I told her to start shopping for brightly colored produce. Her assignment was to "eat the rainbow" (a phrase I still hear often today, and still agree with!) of fruits and vegetables. It's thought that early humans ate over 50 different types of foods regularly. How many do we eat today? Only a fraction. Most of us tend to rotate a playlist of maybe 20 different foods, sometimes fewer, sometimes blatantly fewer. I'm guilty of this myself. I am indeed a creature of habit.

Let's see if we can increase the variety of foods we eat.

Your assignment (and mine!): create a list of your go-to foods, paying particular attention to the fruits, veggies and whole grains you currently eat regularly, then create a list of fruits and veggies and whole grains that you are aware of but rarely or never include in your diet. Make a commitment to include seven to 14 new foods in your diet weekly - that's only one or two per day. I have created a handy chart to make it easy to track your microbiome-buildling foods which you can download from the Members Area in the Downloads area.

While my focus here is on fruits, veg and whole grains (gluten-free unless you have a very hearty gut), here are some other foods that can add to a happy microbiome*:

Dark chocolate

Herbs and spices

Green tea

Natural red wine (healthier than organic!)

Fiber supplements (XLS list is included on the Eat the Rainbow Food Log in the downloads section of the Members Area)

As always, eat as much organically grown food as possible.

*if your gut is out of balance, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms when eating certain foods. If you are having food reactions, you may want to consider booking an appointment with me to do some gut healing before expanding your diet.

Cheers to diversity!



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