1/3 of cancer deaths in the U.S. are due to diet and physical activity (1)!
This is a 2 part blog post. In this blog I will discuss how the food we eat can alter our health and our microbiome, and in the following blog I will expand further in terms of which cancers are related to our diet.
In the last blog I discussed how the diet plays a major role in one's overall health. Our digestion tract goes through processing about 60,000 to 100,000 pounds of food in our lifetime, so it becomes crucial what foods we eat and what lifestyle habits we choose to participate in.
2500 years ago the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates quoted that "All diseases begin in the gut" but was he right? Turns out our gut has an intelligent bacterial ecosystem called the "Microbiome" and when the ecosystem equilibrium collapses, so will our health and psyche.
Factors that change the microbiome ecosystem are we eat and drink, smoking, stress, exposure to toxins/pollutant, hormonal changes and alterations (like being on birth control), and other factors due to age and environment.
We can not control age in this situation, but we can however change and alter other factors and maintain AND create a healthy microbiome. 1/3 of cancer death in the U.S. are due to diet and physical activity. These cancers are entirely caused by what we eat, and how our microbiome gets affected!
So back to Hippocrates's famous quote"
"All Diseases Begin In The Gut"
So what diseases DO begin in the gut and can be due to the diet?
1. Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome is an issue of microbiome disturbance with connections to an autoimmune condition. 80% of our immune system resides in our gut, so when the microbiome ecosystem gets damages, so does our immune system, and a whole slew of problems, like the leaky gut syndrome.
Peple with the LGS, have unhealthy gut lining with small cracks and holes allowing partially digested food, toxins, and bugs to penetrate the surrounding tissues. This can cause inflammation, AND disturb the microbiome ecosystem. Inflammation also leads to insulin resistance (next point).
Toxins are meant to be cleared out of the body, not be re-introcuded in our delicate tissues.
Recent research has shown that an individual with a leaky gut is more likely to develop cancers outside the intestine, including in the liver, lung and lymph nodes.
WHAT HELPS: A specific diet that reduces inflammation and introduces healthy amount of fruit/vegetables, grain and fermented products is ideal. This is why I wrote my e-cookbook and modified all the recipes with gut healing and anti-aging benefits in mind. I am currently not selling any of the e-books until further notice! Sorry for the inconvenience.
2. Type II Diabetes
Recent studies have shown a link with T2DM with disturbances in the microbiome! One study showed how artificial sweeteners like diet Pepsi/Coke products induce glucose intolerance and alter the gut microbiota.
Impaired glucose tolerance / glucose intolerance is associated with insulin resistance and a risk of type II diabetes. This takes us to my next point => weight gain and obesity!
WHAT HELPS: If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, then I highly recommend you monitor your blood glucose, at least 3 times a week (fasting and random), and do a Hemoglobin A1c lab test to see whether your HgA1c levels are within the normal ranges. Also whether you do have a history of diabetes or not, I recommend you monitor your fat and carbohydrates (especially refined sugar) consumption.
3. Weight Gain And Obesity Most people with type 2 diabetes are at a risk for weight gain and obesity. But it also so happens that individuals with an imbalanced microbiome tend to be heavier than normal and have "stubborn fat" which they can not lose easily. There is microbiome component in play here. This is because the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been found helpful in individuals losing weight.
Individuals with an imbalanced microbiome will have an imbalanced bacterium count, especially the kind of bacteria responsible for maintaining weight.
4. Constipation OR Diarrhea
It is no secret that when you eat something you are not used to, or the wrong combinations of the foods, you begin to have digestive problems. Most people can agree that certain foods will make them constipated, whereas certain liquids or foods will give them diarrhea. This is because - again - the food we eat and the liquids we drink get processed in our digestive system and influence the microbiome in the gut. When the equilibrium of specific bacteria changes in the gut, so will your feces texture, color, and smell.
5. Mental Disorder We have recently learned about the mind/gut connection. Ever ate your heart out when feeling depressed? Ever noticed that your feelings have a lot to do with how you eat? If you are anxious you might eat faster or not at all. There is a mind and gut connection at play here called "The Gut-Brain Axis" also referred to as "The Second Brain". An unhealthy gut has been connected to mental disorders such as depression and anxiety as mentioned before.
6. Poor Immunity
If your mental health is connected with the gut, so is your immune health. It should be no surprise learning that those individuals living with an imbalanced gut bacteria are at a higher risk for poor immunity, poor wound healing and even looking sick! Opportunistic bacteria like yeast (candida), or fungus or parasites can overgrow in your gut and completely imbalance the natural equilibrium of the microbiome, meanwhile programming you to eat unhealthy foods to feed themselves or using your body as a host and depriving you of essential nutrients.
7. Skin Conditions Like Acne Acne may be multi-factorial. Of course it can be due to age and a spiral of hormonal changes, but it may also be due to topical reasons such as touching your skin with dirty fingers or using un-natural products on your face. It could also be due to contact with dirty pillow cases or dirty cellphone monitors, but it can also be due to internal reasons. Either stress related, or diet related, due to nutrient deficiencies. Most people never search past the age reason. There is also the microbiome reason! Hormonal changes can be linked to nutrient deficiency as brought by microbiome imbalances.
I have created 100's of acne regimens, and in 90% of the people eating the right foods and changing their diet simply created the most amazing results, while in some their acne was simply stress related or topically related.
I wanted to write this last! By now you might have learned that inflammation is responsible for a variety of diseases and ailments of the body. Multiple studies have linked chronic inflammation with a damaged microbiome. When the microbiome diversity gets damaged, an overgrowth of another bacterial colony takes place. This overgrowth of "bad" bacterial colony is what helps cancer grow and thrive. In the next blog (part 2) I will explain this point further.
Andishe Farahmand is the Author of this article. She is currently obtaining her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics and will begin her Supervised practice clinicals in September of 2018.