Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer Brian Kalagher has been doing a little research into the fascinating world of ‘The Miraculous Human Microbiome.’ He shares it with us here:
Our microbiome is the collection of 10 to 300 trillion bacteria that live in our large intestine. We give them a home in our gut and in turn they do some amazing things for us. In the last 10 years scientists have started to scratch the surface of how important these bacteria are to our overall health and wellbeing.

What’s becoming more and more apparent is that these bacteria are connected to and influence virtually every system of our minds and body. Recent studies are showing that these bacteria modulate our metabolism, regulate our immune system, and even influence the foods we crave. There is some research showing the microbiome may even play a role in disease and if we switch some genes on or off.
Different species of bacteria eat different things so if you have a diet high in sugar you will have more bad bacteria.

It’s interesting to note that more than 90 percent of our body’s serotonin is made in the gut not the brain! Mice transplanted with the microbiome of a depressed person showed signs of depression. Similarly mice with the microbiome of an overweight person gained weight. Amazingly, the mice were not fed any extra food. The bacteria from the overweight person actually digested the same food differently and stored more fat.

What can we do to help build a better microbiome?
Help the integrity of the entire gut lining by eating bone broth, gelatin, folate, and/or turmeric.
If possible, avoid or limit ingesting the following: antibiotics, NSAIDS, - or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (examples are aspirin, Motrin and Aleve)- and acid-blocking drugs to prevent damage to the good bacteria you have.Think about adding prebiotic foods to your diet such as kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods.

Different species of bacteria eat and crave different things, so if you have a high-sugar low-nutrient diet you will have an overgrowth of the bad bacteria that feed on those foods. The surplus of bad bacteria overpower the good bacteria and message the brain to send in more of the bad stuff. So if feed your body handfuls of M&Ms, it’s going to expect more of them over the next days and weeks.

Good news, you can manipulate it the other way. Regularly eating foods that feed good bacteria such as broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens and berries, will prompt your microbiome to send messages to your brain to crave more of those foods. So, feed the good bacteria what they want and they will help you crave the foods you know are healthy for you! If you keep your healthy bacteria happy they will keep your body and mind happy.

Pat yourself on the back the next time you have an extra serving of green vegetables. You’re not just doing something that’s “good for you,” you are literally changing the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. You are creating the domino effect that will keep you craving more and more healthy foods.

That’s it for this week’s issue. Thank you for joining us at Concord Recreation and the Beede Center. Oh yes, the answer:  "Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow," was written by our very own philosopher, writer, activist and obviously fitness guru Henry David Thoreau!