Did you know that you have more bacteria in your body than you do cells in your body? In fact, the number of microbes in our bodies outnumber our cells 10 to 1. With a dynamic like that, it may be important to pay attention to what is being considered the largest thriving organism literally living inside you! Without this phenomena (we’re trying really hard to avoid the Alien metaphors) we wouldn’t be able to break down our foods and use them properly. Which means we should probably keep them as happy as we can. The automatic question becomes, how?
How, in this context, translates to, “So what do I eat?” because we immediately understand that what we eat affects our body and everything in it. The bacteria inside us feeds on what we feed on, so we need to make sure we are giving it the best meals.
However, before we get to that, we need to understand a little bit more about how our microbiome affects us. This is a huge topic and not one we can cover in a simple blog, so we are going to keep it short and sweet so please feel free to peruse the resources at the bottom of the page for more!
Our microbiome is made up of literally over 100 trillion microbes. That sounds almost hard to believe, but it’s true. Everyone’s microbiota (the community of microbes in our body) is different and unique to that person’s body. Because there are so many different kinds of microbes, the variations of microbiota are endless and literally as unique as the human body. However, what we eat can change our combinations of microbes, and therefore affect how our body behaves. This means weight, psychology, disease, immunity, etc. is all affected by our microbiota. Important may be an understatement.
Like everything, there is a good side and a bad side. We have good bacteria in our microbiome and bad bacteria. The good bacteria naturally increase when the bad bacteria are weakened. How do you kill bad bacteria?
If you stop feeding anything, it eventually dies, right? Sounds macabre, but we can take that negative aspect and flip to our advantage. But just like anything with our body and diet, nothing is as simple as “Take this pill and call me in the morning.”
Bad bacteria are associated with inflammation. In fact, it seems as though bad anything is associated with inflammation. That includes a sprained ankle. Inflammation is the perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria. What causes inflammation? Quite a bit of food, but namely,
Whole. In part. Sprouted. Organic. Gluten-free.
Doesn’t matter. Grains contribute to inflammation. Inflammation breeds bad bacteria. Bad bacteria keep you overweight, susceptible to disease, and overall unwell. How do they do this?
A few ways. Grains actually have the ability to leach essential minerals from your body. That means they take them away. You want those minerals. They’re essential, right? Mineral deficiency leads to autoimmune complications and a plethora of other issues.
Gluten has gotten a bad enough rap, and we are all aware that it is part of the wheat grain that causes inflammation. But we have another fun G word for you: Gliadin.
Gliadin is a protein molecule found in many grains (which are technically the seeds of grasses such as barley, rye, wheat, etc.) and has been connected to causing inflammation in much the same way as gluten. In fact, people who are not celiac often respond to gliadins in a similar, but subdued way to gliadins.
At the end of the day, whole and organic grains are still better than conventional, refined starches. However, because of the inflammation they cause (in degrees) it’s like comparing a bruise to a broken arm. Neither are very beneficial or pleasant.
Please take the time to read the sources below and do your own homework too! Grains are a huge part of the commercial food industry and skipping out on them is a huge (and we think good) decision. Let us know what you think in the comments below! And as always, consult your physician before making any dietery or lifestyle changes.