A New Age in Healthy Nutrition: Microbiome Diet
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy nutrition should not be “diet!”
Healthy Nutrition = Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is the equivalent of sufficient and balanced nutrition for the body during the day. Healthy nutrition is the most powerful weapon for gaining weight, losing weight, maintaining the ideal weight, supporting the treatment of existing diseases, feeling fit during the day, sleeping well, strengthening the immune system and protecting against diseases!
Confusing Elements in Healthy Nutrition
In modern day, we are globally trapped in a vicious cycle, and we have just begun to realize that we risk our health while searching for ways to lose weight quickly or to eat healthy in popular diet lists.
For a long time, we adopted many other diet models such as Swedish diets, Ketogenic diets, vegan diets, gluten-free diets and lactose-free diets without questioning the needs of our body. Starting from a problem, we looked for solutions before we knew ourselves and what we needed. We were lost among the diet programs that were more popular on that day or the foods that were deemed to be healthier. Unfortunately, we could not find a permanent solution.
In order for a solution to be permanent, we must first define the problem correctly without looking at it superficially and seek the solution according to our personal needs. Yes, personal needs! Our needs cannot be the same when we are all so different from each other. Therefore, the solution we seek for our problems cannot be popular enough to be the same as the solution for someone else. At the current stage of science, we know that it is not only our fingerprints that differentiate us from each other, but also our microbiome, which begins to form when we are in the womb, is shaped by birth, and diversifies with our lifestyle, eating habits, and environmental conditions!
The Concept of Microbiome
The genome formed by trillions of microorganisms in our gut, the genome products, and their interaction with the environment bring forward the concept of “the microbiome.” Early life factors such as the method of birth delivery, use of antibiotics especially in the first 2 years of life, and starting supplementary feeding with the right foods at the right time have strong effects on the microbiome. These factors retain some degree of flexibility and can be modulated by exposure to various environmental factors. Among them, nutrition is a key determinant in the modulation of the microbiome. Recent studies have demonstrated that the composition of the human fecal microbiome is affected by nutrients. The microbiome grows, evolves, and forms together with you, and differentiates from those of others. In this process, the more diverse the microorganisms in the microbiome and the more homogeneous this diversity are, the healthier the microbiome is. A healthy microbiome affects the body holistically, ranging from bodyweight control to quality sleep patterns to physiological and psychological health.
A New Age in Healthy Nutrition: Microbiome Diet
So, do you know what the definition of a healthy diet is for you? Even if your goals have changed, put aside all the diet lists you have applied so far. No matter what your goal is, it is time to get to know yourself in the new age that science and technology offer you, and acquire a healthy diet with the nutrients your body needs!
About 2500 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medical science, revealed the role of nutrition in human health by saying “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food,” and the role of the gut in human health by saying “All disease begins in the gut.” After these realizations made centuries ago and thousands of studies conducted examining the effects of the microbiome on human health, scientists began to consider, particularly in the last decade, that eating based on our microbiome may be the main component in protecting our health.
With the studies that emerged in the world of science in recent years, we have entered an era where we can improve the status of our health with food. Reshaping the host-microbiome interactions through personalized nutrition is considered to be a new method of therapy for both the management and prevention of diseases. According to the results of these studies, it was found that in the alteration of the composition of the microbiome, 60% of diversity was associated with the content of nutrition, and 10-20% was associated with genetic differences. Dysbiosis, which is defined as insufficient diversity and disruption of the balance in the microbiome, has emerged as one of the underlying causes of weight problems, chronic diseases, poor immune system, psychological disorders, and many other health problems. Today, we call the diet that ensures microbiome balance, increases diversity, and responds to personal needs to find permanent solutions to these health problems the “microbiome diet.”
Fundamentals of the Microbiome Diet
The content of diet affects the microbiome, and subsequently the products of fermentation. Some fermentation products and metabolites promote intestinal function and health, while others impair digestive and barrier functions. Human studies on this subject have focused on the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These nutrients are a source of energy for microorganisms, make up the microbiome profile, and have a profound effect on the microbiome. Let’s take a look at some well-known macronutrients from the microbiome perspective!
While carbohydrates are known to be the main energy source of our body, our gut microbiota also needs these macronutrients for their development. Carbohydrates have the ability to alter the gut microbiome. Dietary fiber is characterized as “microbiota-accessible carbohydrates” as it can be used by microorganisms, providing energy and a carbon source to the host. Our gut microbiota allows us to digest some types of carbohydrates that our bodies cannot break down. These are called “fibers.”
Dietary fibers are defined as the structural parts of plants that are resistant to our digestive enzymes. The microbiome of agricultural populations around the world showed greater bacterial richness compared to that of modernized populations, which is thought to be due to dietary fiber. In studies conducted on rats, low intake of fiber caused an increase in Firmicutes and a decrease in Bacteroidetes.
Some bacteria in our microbiome ferment dietary fibers, creating short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, propionate, and acetate, and they support the protection of our gut health. So, what is the source of carbohydrates that will have a beneficial effect on your body?
The effect of proteins on the microbiome was revealed in 1977. Studies examining the effects of proteins on the microbiome have gained momentum with the development of the 16S rRNA method, which is a new generation sequencing method. Proteins are critical to growth, tissue repair, and the health of the immune and reproductive systems. These macronutrients, which are broken down into amino acids by digestive system enzymes after protein consumption, are fermented by some bacteria in the intestines. Metabolites released as a result of fermentation affect our metabolism, immune system, and nervous system.
Metabolites formed as a result of the fermentation of some amino acids support the nervous system by showing a protective effect against diseases such as multiple sclerosis, while long-term high protein intake causes a decrease in the number of some beneficial bacterial groups. Furthermore, high animal protein intake increases the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The common point of studies on this subject for proteins is the importance of limiting the amount of dietary protein in such a way that it does not exceed the requirement in the regulation of the microbiome. So, what is the source of protein that will have a beneficial effect on your body?
Fats are present in the structure of the wall surrounding the body cells, and they take part in intracellular and intercellular communication. High-fat diets cause a decrease in Bacteriotedes and an increase in Firmicutes in the gut, thereby leading to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis developing in the gut increases the risk of obesity and the development of chronic disease as a result of decreased microbiome diversity. Current universal recommendations on dietary fat content for the microbiome balance include avoiding trans-fat intake, limiting saturated fat intake, and replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Studies have shown that the amount and type of fat in the diet affects the microbiome ecosystem. So, what is the source of fat that will have a beneficial effect on your body?
Sustainable Weight Loss and the Microbiome
The microbiome plays an important role in the development and progression of obesity. Most studies conducted on overweight and obese individuals revealed dysbiosis, which was characterized by lower diversity.
With bad eating habits, we create a memory in our microbiome profile that tends to gain weight and obesity. Unfortunately, this memory impairs the sustainability of our weight loss. Although losing weight can be easy for some individuals and weight loss can be achieved in a very short time, the important thing is to ensure healthy and sustainable weight loss at the right time. We often focus on our weight as the sole criterion. However, our weight is a single page in the health history of our body. Learning about the microbiome helps you understand how and to what extent your weight adapts to the complex system functioning in your body.
The answer to all these questions lies in what your microbiome needs. Your microbiome is unique and special, just like you. Therefore, each of us need different nutritional sources. You need to listen to your microbiome first in order to develop your own form of “healthy diet.” You must learn about the increases and decreases in the number of bacteria so that you can consume the nutrients that will bring them into balance.
Remember, the way to be healthy is to have a healthy microbiome! With ENBIOSIS, you can discover the world of your microbiome and learn about the nutrient sources that will benefit your body. You can easily adapt to changes with the help of the dietitian follow-up service we offer.
Discover your microbiome, manage your diet, take control of your health!