VOICES PUSHPESH PANT NAMITA GOKHALE RAVI SHANKAR GAUTAM CHINTAMANI NEIL MCCALLUM MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI THE NEW SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE BUFFET PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT FEBRUARY 21 2021 SUNDAY PAGES 12 That Gut Feeling QUICK FACTS ON YOUR MICROBIOME Medical science is discovering that the human gut is the ultimate regulator of body functions that determine all health vectors—from obesity, sleep disorders, anxiety, skin conditions and food intolerance to even Covid-19 related diseases Can You Heal It? Eat More Fibre High-fibre diets have always been linked to longer and healthier lives. But now they are being linked to healthier gut microbes. ✥ A fibre diet boosts the number of good bacteria in your gut ✥ The good bacteria make the walls of your gut thicker and stronger ✥ The chances of a leaky gut are reduced, and harmful microbes and toxins don’t get into your bloodstream ✥ The good bacteria aid in digestion and lower inflammation throughout the body It is suggested that healthy adults should eat between 20 and 35 gm of dietary fibre each day. 50% of your fibre intake should come from cereals, 30-40% from vegetables, 15-16% from fruits and the remaining 3% from other minor sources. ✥ Reduce stress. It affects the balance of your gut bacteria ✥ Focus on fermented foods, particularly plain, natural yogurt. They enhance gut health and reduce bad bacteria. ✥ Exercise. It increases gut bacteria, boosts vitamin and mineral absorption ✥ Eat diverse food, to get a diverse gut ecosystem ✥ Remember, antibiotics also kill good bacteria in your gut ✥ Eliminate foods that damage the gut lining ✥ Eat foods that reduce inflammation ✥ Get enough sleep, to improve the crosstalk between gut and brain ✥ Water has a positive effect on the balance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut. So drink. ✥ Eat foods rich in polyphenol, coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate, green tea, to improve the gut microbiome ✥ Eat whole grains. They contain non-digestible carbs that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. ✥ Reduce sugar. High sugar intake disrupts the balance of microbiota, raises inflammation, reduces immuneregulatory functions. The human body has more microbes than there are stars in the Milky Way 1.3X You have times more microbes than cells in your body. They are staggeringly diverse, with 10,000 different species. 100 trillion microbes live on and in you, especially in your gut By MEDHA DUTTA YADAV and AYESHA SINGH Y ou are gutted. It is not all that bad though. Deep inside you and all over you are thriving colonies of trillions of unseen beings of different shapes and sizes in constant state of activity. They are a 1,000 times smaller than a pencil tip. Some look like bowling pins, while some others are round like bowling balls. Some look like jellyfish and spring onions. If you can, like Martin Scott in the Innerspace movie, shrink and become small enough to travel inside the human body, you will reach a sci-fi universe where you will meet heroes and villains, devourers and sustainers, psychics and soldiers— around 100 trillion teeny-weeny living organisms that represent 5,000 different species. There are bacteria and viruses, good and bad. There is yeast and other fungi and parasites. Trillions of bacteria. Paired with other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi, they make what’s known as the microbiota, or the microbiome. This system affects and even determines crucial factors that impact and determine the state of your body and mind. The gut microbiota hosts over three million genes with 150 times more genes than the human body. Some of the residents of the gut, such as the ancient archaea, have existed even before humans arrived on earth and can survive in stomach acid, which can dissolve metal. There live bacteria in the gut that eat other bacteria. There are the Lilliputian bacteriophages that infect specific bacteria. Most of these organisms live in the intestines and colon. Put all together, they determine an individual’s capacity to fight disease, digest food and govern mood, and psychological functions. A baby hardly has a gut microbiome to speak of although it does have a ‘microbial fingerprint’. It develops the foundation over the first seven years of a person’s life, depending on the circumstances of birth, where he or she lived, diet and more. The gut microbiome keeps changing throughout your life depending on these above-said factors. It is connected to the entire body and organises counters to harmful bacteria, viruses and chemicals that threaten health and lifespans. A study by Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal pointed at gut bacteria’s impact on the human brain. It discovered the communication channel with neural, endocrine and inflammatory mechanisms between the gut and brain, most of which is established in the first three years of life. Ojas—described in Ayurveda as the finest product of healthy digestion—is mentioned in ancient texts as having the quality to coordinate the convergence of the mind and body. The gut, also referred to as the gastrointestinal system, consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. Medical science is shining its searchlight inside the teeming, pulsing, fluctuating universe called the human gut, and is making startling revelations that is changing the understanding of human biology. The latest insight is that the gut health has a crucial role to play in the recovery rate of Covid-19 patients with a poor gut microbiome. Respiratory viral infections have been known to negatively impact the gut microbiome. “Our gut flora has a diverse bacterial colony. It is these bacteria that determine the immunity of an individual and also ensure that we have a balance of all different neuro-transmitters for the vital function of the body—dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and more. About 60-70 percent of our neurotransmitter secretion happens in our gut,” says Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director at Atmantan Wellness Centre, near Pune. IT TAKES GUTS How intestinal health affect the body The gut is the biosystem inside you. It is the first line of defence and the largest interface between the host—in this case, a person—and the outside world. After birth, the gut is the first point of entry for environmental and dietary influences on human life. Thus, the microbiota in the gut plays a crucial role, as it contributes to development and maintenance of our immune system. “The gut determines overall health because it is the site for absorption of nutrients and our largest defence mechanism. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to suffering from gut-related disorders because of restricted diets and lack of physical activity. Probiotics can act systemically to augment the innate and adaptive immune system and reduce the incidence of infections,” says Dr Neerja Hajela, Head of Science and Regulatory Affairs, Yakult Danone India Pvt Ltd. While we initially thought of the microbiota as relatively simple organisms, the fact is that they may not be so simple after all. Gut micro- biota can be as personal and complex as a fingerprint. There are more bacteria in your gut alone than cells in your entire body. Healthy bacteria actively interact with the host immune system in the gut. They contribute to the barrier between disease-causing microorganisms or infections introduced via ingestion. They also help prepare the host immune system to defend the body. The wrong mix of microbes, on the other hand, can contribute to many digestive, immune and mental health disorders and even obesity. “All diseases come from the gut and what you put in there. Sometimes there is overgrowth of bad bacteria or growth of opportunistic pathogenic fungus. It is important then to reset or repair the gut. Gut is basically one of the main defence systems of the body and if that is compromised then it can adversely impact your chances of fighting a deadly virus such as Covid, or anything else for that matter,” says Dr Anjali Hooda, Director, Livenutrifit & Centre for Obesity and Longevity, Delhi. THAT BAD GUT FEELING How to tell if you have a poor gut microbiome Health professionals and research scientists have concluded that bad gut health leads to crippling diseases. This is because gut health is crucial to all body functions. Every person’s gut microbiome is as unique as a biometric scan, and is pre-destined depending on genes, gender, diet, personal hygiene, activity levels, living environment and life experiences. Together or in parts, these can determine your immunity quotient. Incidentally one of the first assessments an Ayurveda physician makes of a person’s health is by determining the distribution of the three doshas at birth (Prakriti) and their state of balance (Vikriti). The causes of developing an unhealthy gut are mostly associated with modern lifestyle diseases, poor diet, unsupervised and frequent antibiotic use, chronic stress, excess travel, poor quality of sleep, excess caffeine intake and alcohol and recreational drug use. In a healthy person, bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in your gut coexist in balance. Poor health happens when the bad bacteria defeat good bacteria leading to gut dysbiosis (as opposed to symbiosis)—the reason why the gut is called the ‘invisible organ’. Also, excess antibiotics nuke microbiota. LISTENING TO GUT INSTINCT Why Ayurveda is good for digestion Ayurveda considers all food as medicine. Its solutions for regenerating Turn to page 2 Your microbiome is unique to you, like your fingerprint. Reason why we react differently to diseases and treatments. Your gut microbiome can weigh up to 2 kg 95% of all the microbes of your body live in your GI tract The gut microbiome is increasingly seen as an 'invisible organ,’ crucial for our health Your gut microbiome is spread across your gut lining, from mouth to anus, the surface area being the same as two tennis courts GUT SAVERS High-fibre foods: Legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, and leeks have a positive impact on gut health Garlic and onion: These are anti-carcinogenic with immunity boosting powers that relate closely to gut microbiome functions Fermented foods: Kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, miso and kefir have significant quantities of probiotics Collagen-rich foods: Bone broth, salmon, certain lean meats, mushrooms and good dairy boost gut health WHAT DOES A HEALTHY GUT MICROBIOME MEAN? ✥ That there is harmony and balance between human cells and microbes (and not eradicating microbes) ✥ That there is right balance between good bacteria and bad, at 85 percent to 15 percent ratio (approx) ✥ That the balance in gut microbiome is not disturbed (dysbiosis), leading to diseases ✥ That there is no leaky gut, or gaps in the gut lining, so that toxins cannot get into the body ✥ That there is high diversity in gut flora. Lack of diversity depletes the gut.
Express Network Private Limited publishes thirty three E-paper editions of The New Indian Express newspaper , thirty two E-paper editions of Dinamani, one E-paper edition of The Morning Standard, one E-paper edition of Malayalam Vaarika magazine and one E-paper edition of the Indulge - The Morning Standard, Kolkatta.