Cereal, the perfect fortified food that takes care of our daily recommended dose of fibre. Problem solver to the hectic schedule of life. The easy answer to getting our kids fed and us sorted before work, right? Wrong. It’s destroying your gut.
We have seen the research that states a high-fiber diet can reduce your risk of premature death, due to many chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer. Not to mention the added benefit of reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation (thats a big one). That’s all well and good, except for the fact that it is all dependent on the type of fibre you are getting. Did you know the wrong fibre could be causing you serious health issues?
We should be getting a recommended 20-30 grams of fibre a day, I like to recommend that 30 grams is the ideal or even 32 grams -especially for women. Unfortunately we are getting less than half of that. You see, our best source of dietary fibre comes from fruit and vegetables and we simply aren’t getting enough of those into our diets. What’s worse is that some of you are heavily into the juicing trend and have forgotten that you still need to actually chew some of those much needed veggies to get the fibre. Juicing takes the pulp and with it the fibre, leaving us with a nutrient dense snack but lacking the much needed fibre. I’m not saying not to juice, I do it daily, what I am saying is don’t forget to get some into your body the natural way… oh and don’t forget to chew (we will get to that part in another article).
OK back up, why are cereal grains so bad then? Here is the issue. While you may think you are getting the best risk reduction for colorectal and cardiovascular disease by eating a fortified and fibre rich cereal the truth is what you are likely getting is a toxic overload. Enter in – glyphosate. Most modern non-organic grains have been doused with glyphosate, in order to increase the yield and kill off what would harm the crops. The issue with this is that what we eat is now heavily contaminated, causing issues like celiac disease and other gut dysfunctions.
So cereal grains may have once been a healthy option, in most cases today they are not. I’ve also seen many on high grain diets which resulted in both insulin and leptin resistance so watch out for that. Not to mention that most of the grains on the market today are so heavily processed I don’t know how they are even still called grains.
Aim for more whole grains, organic grains if you can, if you can’t then skip them altogether. Add more psyllium husk, flax seed ground up (for digestions) and hemp seeds to your diet. Soak chia seeds for a few hours and add them to your favourite smoothie or breakfast of choice. Add in more berries, almonds, root vegetables and tubers including sweet onion, sweet potato and jicama, green beans, cauliflower, beans, peas, broccoli and even brussels sprouts. No not all at once silly. But getting them into your diet is key.
Now back to those gut microbes. We have heard over the past decade the importance of probiotics in keeping our gut healthy, but did you know that soluble fibre such as psyllium IS a probiotic? Probiotics help to nourish our gut bacteria, these beneficial bacteria then assist with digestion and absorption of your food. These microbiota (good bacteria) play a significant role in our immune function. We need them, without them we are in a whole world of trouble, if fact…we would be dead.
Are you seeing why fibre is important now? OK let’s continue. Before you run out and grab a box of metamucil or other similar psyllium based product let me warn you. Get it (in bulk) at your local health food store, buy it organic and without the additives like sugar or worse yet, sweeteners. All these extra additives, including pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers when it isn’t organic, will only serve to do more damage to your delicate microbiome. Sugar for example feeds pathogenic or potentially pathogenic microorganisms, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve.
Over the past 5+ years the science behind our microbiome has become of more interest, many scientists, biologists and physicians have traveled to the end of the earth to exam the effects of soil, water and food on our guts while trying to understand the damage we have done to ourselves and our gut with the western diet and overuse of antibiotics. It has become overwhelmingly clear that in order to be healthy we need to have a healthy gut.
There have been several studies linking gut microbes, rheumatoid arthritis and other serious diseases where the body’s immune system goes haywire and attacks it’s own tissues. This is serious as the rise of disease linked to an unhealthy microbiome (our gut) is increasing rapidly. Due to a diet of toxic antibiotic laden meat, antibiotics overuse due to illness and add in frankenfood or highly processed food, we are sick and getting sicker. Inappropriate and unnatural diet changes seem to go hand in hand with the rising rate of disease, we need to get back to a diet that promotes a healthy microbiome, we need to get back to eating real food.
So while adding fermented food such as sauerkraut is recommended I also can’t stress enough the importance of fibre in your diet. Taking some psyllium fibre, eating local and organic produce and munching on nuts and seeds are fantastic ways to ensure you get that daily recommended dose of fibre.
Remember, a happy gut is a healthy butt.
Want to learn more on how to heal your gut? Schedule a consultation today. Don’t put off today what you will regret tomorrow.