Many of us are now aware that the state of our microbiome is a huge contributor to the state of our health—but between pebiotics, probiotics, and a host of other buzzwords, it can be hard to navigate actual action steps. What should you eat? What should you avoid? Let's dive into the world of microbiome-enhancing foods and get to the bottom of things.
Let's start with short-chain fatty acids.
While we all have very different-looking microbiotas, for all of us, optimal health lies in having a large diversity of bacteria in our guts. Our bacteria have specific functions that keep our systems humming along and protect us from illness, and the more strains there are, the more protection we have. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, such as the well-researched butyrate, propionate, and acetate. They do this by fermenting "eating" dietary fibers.
Short-chain fatty acids are an impressive bunch. Not only do they play a crucial role in the human gut, but their impressive properties extend to our overall health, including:
All of that, simply from enhancing the quantity and diversity of your microbiome, and thus increasing your short-chain fatty acid production. But how do you actually do this? There are five main categories of microbiome-enhancing foods.