By Dena Schmidt
(NaturalHealth365) More Americans than ever are struggling with gut health issues. And, it’s no wonder, thanks to the typical American’s diet, loaded with processed, low fiber foods, chemicals and denatured ingredients. Toxic diets – low in fiber – destroy the diversity of intestinal flora and can cause a wide range of health problems and lower immune function.
Some of the symptoms of compromised gut health include constipation, too much (or too little) intestinal gas, diarrhea, chronic bad breath, hormonal issues, menstrual problems, allergies and vitamin deficiencies, just to name a few. Poor gut health will lead to serious digestive issues, autoimmune conditions and even cancer.
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Low fiber foods are the enemy of optimal health
A study conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that the typical American diet consisting of mostly low fiber foods produces a range of internal deficiencies. Even worse, these deficiencies tend to get passed down to future generations. After four generations in this study, the losses were shown to be irreversible.
The study (conducted with mice that had the gut bacteria of humans) and its results shows diets that are low in fiber deplete complex microbial ecosystems and erode gut health, causing an irreversible loss of intestinal flora diversity that gets progressively worse with successive generations.
Unavoidable reality: Are future generations at a health risk beyond repair?
What’s even more alarming is that once this occurs, later generations attempting to “eat right” can’t seem to reverse the effects.
Processed, low-fiber foods are causing most Americans (and people from other industrialized nations) to consume just 15 grams of fiber per day, compared with 10 times as much by our hunter-gatherer and agrarian ancestors. Not surprisingly, people who still live an agrarian lifestyle have a much higher diversity of healthy gut bacteria, while persons from industrialized societies show a complete absence of some key intestinal flora.
The main reason low-fiber diets are harmful is that fiber, which human enzymes cannot digest, is the top food source for helpful microorganisms like commensal bacteria, which colonizes the colon. There are thousands of different types of intestinal flora in our large intestines, and we need them for immune system health as well as tissue development.
Don’t wait: Simple changes can make a big difference on gut health
The prevalence of low fiber foods in industrialized nations is a relatively new development; however, the ramifications of the Stanford study point to serious problems for our great-grandchildren if this continues.
Some simple diet and cultural changes could make a difference, the first of which is favoring foods that are rich in fiber and steering away from low-fiber, processed options. Organic beans, whole grains, berries and dark leafy green vegetables are all excellent sources of fiber (and nutrition). In addition, limiting your use of antibiotics; increasing the intake of probiotic-rich foods; breastfeeding and correcting poor oral health issues will dramatically improve the quality of your life.