Food Diversity’s Enormous Impact on Your Health

Food Diversity’s Enormous Impact on Your Health by Charles Hugh Smith for Of Two Minds

What is left unsaid by many articles on these healthy oldsters is the variety of fiber-rich foods in their diets.

This essay was initially distributed only to subscribers and patrons, but at the suggestion of some longtime subscribers, I’m sharing it with all readers. I hope it helps everyone manage our most precious wealth, our health. CHS

One of the most astonishing developments in science is the profound impact of the microbiome, the 100 trillion microbes that live within us, on our health. It’s now clear that this immense colony directly impacts our immune system, our sense of well-being, our appetite, weight, and so on.

Scientific American summarized this new research thusly: “Leading scientists now think of humans not as self-sufficient organisms but as complex ecosystems colonized by numerous collaborating and competing microbial species. From this perspective, human health is a form of ecology in which care for the body also involves tending its teeming population of resident animalcules.”

Poorly functioning microbiomes are now linked to Parkinson’s disease and a host of auto-immune disorders as well as metabolic disorders such as diabetes. (It seems that the majority of people who develop Parkinson’s suffer from chronic constipation.)

I’ve been following this research since 2012, when the new understanding started to attract funding and media coverage.

This article is a good introduction to the topic: How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution: Burgers and fries have nearly killed our ancestral microbiome.

“I came away from Sonnenburg’s office with a sense that I’d glimpsed a principle underlying our relationship with microbes. Wringing calories from wild, fibrous fare required a village– microbes specialized in distinct tasks, but each also dependent on its neighbors. The difficulty of the job encouraged cooperation between microbes. When you withheld fiber, though, you removed the need for that close-knit cooperation. The mutually beneficial arrangements began to fray.

In their recent book, The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health, the Sonnenburgs argue forcefully that boosting fiber intake is the best way to cultivate a healthier community of microbes.”

Here is an excerpt from their book: Gut Feelings–the “Second Brain” in Our Gastrointestinal Systems:

There are hundreds of articles on this rapidly expanding field; here are a few that illustrate the breadth of research:

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