Thursday, July 22, 2021

I've Got a Gut Feeling 

"Does anyone feel a breeze on their colon?" asks man whose abdomen is wide open.

Apparently, a not well understood yet possibly critical measure and factor of your health is in your gut. To be more specific, your gut microbiome, your stomach’s collection of bacteria that not only works in your favour but sometimes against it, and some have speculated it might even be considered another organ. The key to your gut’s health is the diversity of the bacteria therein. Since we’ve all been going to town on what is sometimes called ultra processed food, our collective guts are less diverse than those of people who have not be exposed to a lifetime of Twinkies, frozen pizzas and American cheese. I say they’re missing out. Would you swap all the McDonald’s fries you’ve ever eaten for a better immune system? It’d be nice if you could just pop a pill or supplement full of a few billion bacteria your gut could use to diversify but as is often the case, it isn’t that simple. 

One thing you can do to improve your stomach’s diversity is to eat diversely. Though it may not be as easy as it sounds. The suggestion I’ve read is to try to eat up to 30 different fruits and vegetables each week. I’m not sure I could name 30 different fruits and vegetables never mind fit them in my fridge. To test this idea, let me do a quick inventory of what I have currently in my fridge (just the fruits and vegetables, mind you). 

1. Leeks (well, a single dry-ish leek).
2. Some green onions.
3. A Spanish onion.
4. A red onion.
5. A couple of shallots (why do I have so many oniony vegetables?)
6. Garlic.
7. A crown of broccoli.
8. Some yellow-flesh potatoes.
9. Some red-skinned potatoes.
10. Carrots.
11. Tomatoes.
12. Cherry tomatoes.
13. Sweet peppers (Yellow and red. Do different colours count as two different kinds of peppers).
14. Mixed greens (so basically three kinds of lettuce)
15. Thai peppers.
16. Fuji apples.
17. Cherries.
18. Green grapes.
19. Frozen corn.
20. Frozen edamame.
21. Frozen peas.
22. Frozen mango.

OK, so 22. Not bad, but not 30. I mean, I usually have two or three varieties of berries and maybe some bananas but that would still only get me to what? 25-26 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and that’s if I ate everything in there. In one week. Every week. 

Did someone mention a pill?



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