The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer MD is a great book in ways that appeal to me. The first nine chapters give us the background information for his final chapter – THE SIMPLE ROAD TOWARD WELLNESS AND OPTIMAL HEALTH. In that final chapter he gives us a bolded list of things we can do to help cultivate the garden of micro-organisms in our guts. This list gives the condensed argument previously developed and proven. Then at the very end, we have the essential ideas condensed into a list of what he recommends for us to do. (p. 284)
HOW AND WHAT TO FEED YOUR GUT MICROBES
- Aim to maximize gut microbial diversity by maximizing regular intake of naturally fermented foods and probiotics.
- Reduce the inflammatory potential of our gut microbiota by making better nutritional choices.
- Cut down on animal fat in your diet.
- Avoid, whenever possible, mass-produced, processed food and select organically-grown food.
- Eat smaller servings at meals.
- Be mindful of prenatal nutrition.
- Reduce stress and practice mindfulness.
- Avoid eating when you are stressed, angry, or sad
- Enjoy the secret pleasures and social aspects of food.
- Become an expert in listening to your gut feelings.
I suspect that most of that advice was given to me by my grandmother back in the 1930s, along with never smoke, and drink for pleasure not for pain, and eat some bulk food with every meal. That term “bulk” back then meant what is now called fiber. I don’t remember her saying anything about eating fermented foods, but I do remember eating her sauerkraut and that was a bit of a challenge for a kid. The difference now is that this advice has sound scientific studies, discussed in this book, proving the value of doing some of those things and not doing others.
The scientific study of our microbial gut environment is an emerging technology and Doctor Mayer does mention fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) which I have blogged about several times, but his book is more of a top-down approach. This emerging technology will probably change many aspects of our lives in the next few years, along with giving us longer healthier lives. See Dr Mayer in a twenty-five-minute video presentation. And a similar TEDx video.
Reading “The Mind-Gut Connection” will help you follow the suggestions in the list quoted above.