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Living Well in Yalobusha County

A Healthy Gut Is Also A Flattering Gut

The Create MHV Club will meet on Wednesday, June 6th at 10 a.m.  Jo Davis will be the project leader and participants will be making beaded wind chimes attached to a gourd top (see photo below). The cost of the project is $5, however if you have any old beads from costume jewelry or other arts and crafts projects please bring them.   

The Create Club meets once a month and is looking for new members who enjoy crafting.   If you want to see if this is for you, join us on June 6th at 10 a.m.  In order to have enough supplies, please call the Extension Office by Friday, June 1 at 675-2730 to let us know you will be attending.

Inside the Microbiome

The bacteria in our guts is responsible for metabolizing nutrients from food, acting as a protective barrier against infections in the intestine, and making fat-soluble vitamin K (which is needed to make proteins that help clot blood). Researchers are just scratching the surface of how the microbiome may impact health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

Your gut is home to millions of strains of bacteria known collectively as “microbiota” or the “gut  microbiome.” And just like snowflakes, everyone’s gut microbiota is uniquely different.

There are several factors that influence your gut microbiota, including age, diet, genes, environment, and medications like antibiotics, which can significantly alter gut bacteria. Of these factors, diet may be the most controllable. 

Microbes thrive on various components of food. Some microbes make compounds that seem to keep us healthier, while others produce substances that may worsen our health. For example, a scientific study found a link between pediatric obesity and antibiotic use early in life. Research has shown that in mice, a diet high in fat increases gut permeability and raises gut absorption of endotoxins that foster weight gain, inflammation, obesity, and diabetes. 

Our gut microbiota is very complex and it’s difficult for scientists to identify which bacteria would be the most beneficial in preventing disease. According to Dr. Hohmann, who works in the infectious diseases division at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, a few dietary tweaks may make a big difference, though gut microbiota change slowly over me and not overnight. She suggests adding the following foods to our eating patterns: 

•Fermented foods that contain natural probiotics, including miso, yogurt, kefir, and kimchi. 

Sauerkraut and pickles are also fermented, but may need to be limited for people with high blood pressure due to their high sodium content. 

•High-fiber, complex carbohydrates such as beans, lentils, whole grain breads, cereals, and  grains such as barley, bran, bulgur, farro, and quinoa. The more variety of plant-based foods, the more diverse our bacteria become. 

While it may be tempting to take an over-the-counter probiotic and call it a day, scientists suggest that probiotics do not typically change your gut microbiota on a permanent basis. A few strains of probiotics have been found to modify the gut, but once they’re stopped, the gut microbiome may reverse back to its previous state. Probiotics may be useful in treating loose stools related to antibiotic use, but for the most part, the data on their effectiveness is not very convincing.

Our best bet for a healthy gut is to eat a high fiber, plant-based diet with fewer servings of high fat animal foods, salt, and refined carbohydrates. This will not only improve the insides of our guts, but may also give us a more flattering “gut” on the outside too.

MSU Extension Service

Save The Date

The Healthy You exercise class will meet on Wednesday, May 23, but will not meet on Monday, May 28th.  The classes are free.  Make sure to wear cool comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and bring some water to drink.  We are in our third week of  a new exercise on Fridays in May.  We are using small (1, 2 or 3 pound) weights.  If you don’t have weights you can still come and try out the new exercise.  You will also need a mat.  Join us for this free and fun time of exercise in a safe and air conditioned environment.

Register now for Master Chef’s School, a three day cooking program for youth ages 10-15 scheduled June 12-14 at the Multi-purpose Building in Coffeeville.  During the program, participants will learn about nutrition, food safety, physical fitness, cooking terminology, techniques and etiquette.  The youth will also gain cooking skills through the preparation of several recipes each day.

There is a $30 supply fee and checks should be made to Yalobusha County 4-H. Space is  limited to 10 participants. Volunteers are also needed!  If you would be willing to volunteer, please sign-up when signing your child up. To register your child please call 675-2730.  

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