Re-establish the intestinal microbes

Re-establish the intestinal microbes using probiotics made very simply in your own kitchen; it takes only five minutes.

There are over 1000 species of bacteria and yeasts, the so-called "microbiome,"  in the healthy human digestive-tract. So important are they that they are often described as one of our organs, all on their own; they play a critical role in our immune systems and metabolism.

It is noteworthy that those with a healthy microbiome do not get Long Covid[1].

Taking responsibility for our own wellness means in part learning how to re-establish the intestinal microbes.

Kefir in a funnel or colander.

"The American Gut Project at UC San Diego School of Medicine found that the single most powerful predictor of a healthy gut was the diversity and variety of plants in your diet."

- Dr W Bulsiewicz MD, gastroenterologist[1].


For example, a healthy carbohydrate diet should include so-called "resistant starch;" that which is not digested in the proximal digestive tract, producing a blood sugar surge, but instead passes through intact to the colon where it is fermented producing important short-chain fatty acids that are vital for a healthy immune system; the fibre in our diet, for example the pectin in fruit, is one such.

Various researchers have found that 

  • a lessened diversity of these bugs is associated with recurrent infections of the gut.
  • a low bacterial count is associated with a host of serious illnesses from insulin-resistance and diabetes to inflammatory cytokine storms; and even neurodegenerative conditions Alzheimer's disease.

A healthy biome makes one far less susceptible to pathogens that we all encounter, probably on a daily basis; the healthy bugs simply outnumber the invading disease-causing bacteria and yeasts.  

Overuse of antibiotics, refined foods and chemicals added to our nosh all contribute to an inadequate biome. Ironically artificial-sweeteners have been fingered, leading to an increase in glucose intolerance and metabolic syndrome.

It is relatively simple to re-establish these microbes using what is known a  probiotic. They can be purchased at pharmacies and health food shops. We think a better solution is to make your own.

Kefir for example is a culture with over 30 different strains of healthy bugs, far more diverse than those in capsules, using ordinary pasteurised milk and a starter which you can get from a nutrition shop, or a green friend. This is a non-dairy form, but it uses a lot of sugar; I don't recommend.

All that’s needed is a small plastic colander and several wide-necked glass jars. Every morning one strains off the whey, returning the curds to a clean bottle which is topped up with fresh milk. It has a not unpleasant taste like a strong yoghurt. At a cost of one cup of milk per day, this is the cheapest medicine I know of. It’s also a particularly good source of absorbable calcium.  

On a personal note, an anecdote of no scientific value, I have suffered from epigastric pain for some fifteen years getting gradually worse; a gastroscope revealed a helicobacter infection, the cause of ulcers, in the stomach. Within one week of taking kefir on a daily basis the symptoms have been drastically reduced and nights are now only very rarely disturbed with indigestion and heartburn after a dietary indiscretion. Coffee after dinner remains completely verboten.

We continue to take our kefir regularly, but recently whilst on a two week holiday, there was no resurgence of symptoms; it’s possible that taking a homemade probiotic just a few days a month would be adequate after restoring the healthy microbiome.

Whilst Our Green Home is concerned in the main with matters such as capturing sunlight and rainwater from the heavens, for the planet’s sake, it covers also the whole gamut of small things that happen in the garden and kitchen that contribute to wholesome food and better health.

We call our home a Cyan Zone[3]; recreating green and blue issues, beneficial for our own wellness, and that of the planet.

So re-establish the intestinal microbes if you want to have a happy tum and desire to live a life without medication; and having constantly to consult doctors.

Terminology

Learning how to re-establish the intestinal microbes in our bodies, and supplying them with the nutrients they need is turning out to be one of the most important and simple things that each of us who cares about our wellness could and should be doing.

Microbiome

The microbiome, also known as the intestinal flora, consists of the healthy bacteria, viruses and yeasts living in the gut. In the normal body they weigh over 2kg and scientists are finding they play a huge role in our wellness from balancing the immune system to allergies and metabolic diseases, for example.

Probiotics

The probiotics are the actual beneficial bugs living in the gut; actually they inhabit other parts of the body too such as the vagina and armpit. What is important is not just the number of these bacteria and other microorganisms, but how broad the spectrum of these little creatures is; there should be over one-thousand species.

Getting our probiotics from a supplement which is unlikely to contain more than half a dozen species actually reduces this broad spectrum of friendly bugs.

Common foods that are rich in these microorganisms are, for example, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi; maas and to a lesser extent unpasteurised yoghurt too.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are the food that the intestinal flora feed on. It is in the main the fibre from our food that is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine.

The fibrous portion of whole grains, legumes and fruit, for example, make up what scientists call prebiotics; vegetables, nuts and seeds too.

Specific examples might be the pectin in an apple, the beta-glucan in oats and the lignans in bran. Both the total weight and the diversity of these plant fibres are vastly important to our overall wellness.

Net-carbs is what remains after this indigestible fibre is subtracted from the total starch. Refined foods have almost none; that is why we bake our own artisanal bread. Can caring for our bodies ever be too much trouble?

Learning to distinguish between real and fake bread is very high on our agenda.

100pc wholemeal sourdough bread.

Post-biotics

Post-biotics are active beneficial compounds that are produced by the microorganisms in foods like sauerkraut, and those formed by the bugs in the gut.

Short-chain fatty acids for example provide energy for the cells lining the gut; they help in the fight against pathogens that cause inflammation. They lower cholesterol and mediate in the immune system.

Take home

The take-home on this extremely complex subject is that we should regularly be preparing and enjoying fermented foods from our kitchens. Kefir is the simplest that we have discovered, containing over 30 friendly bugs for the microbiome.

And secondly we should be eating as many different fibrous foods as possible; they provide the nourishment, the prebiotics, that keep the normal flora happy. It so happens they also help prevent serious colo-rectal disease.

Thirdly we should avoid those chemicals that are known to be destructive of the microbiome; artificial-sweeteners, for example.

Last but not least we should avoid the refined foods that have been stripped of their nutrients and fibre if we want to re-establish the intestinal microbes.

Kefir breakfast smoothie.

This kefir breakfast smoothie is a regular in our green home.

Re-establish the intestinal microbes

Re-establish the intestinal microbes using kefir.


Newsletter

Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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