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You are what you eat-why Gut Microbiome health is essential

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Why we need to realize food can harm and cure. It just depends on what you eat!  

My favorite quote is by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  

Did you know that 60% of your immune system is right underneath the lining of your gut?  

In the midst of a public health crisis, COVID -19 has shined a light on another significant issue: Chronic Metabolic Conditions. Those who suffer from conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune disease are at a higher risk of hospitalization if they contract COVID-19.   

In fact, a recent study put forth by the American Society of Microbiology asked, “Do an altered Gut Microbiome and an associated leaky Gut affect COVID-19 Severity?” There is increasing evidence that this is indeed the case.  COVID aside, turning towards our own bodies and focusing on our own health is key to improving not only our lifespan, but our health span.  

Our health span is the quality of healthy life years that we have. So, while someone may live to 80, their health span may be limited due to debilitating health issues that significantly reduce their quality of life.  

These issues are so great and cannot be summarized in one article. In this edition, I focus on one thing: gut health. Gut microbiome is receiving a lot more attention these days, as it should. There is so much inflammation and so many disorders that arise as a result of our gut being out of sync. 

How does Gut Health affect the eyes?  

  • A recent study in the European Journal of Pediatrics found changes in gut microbiome affected the course of chalazion (stye) resolution.  
  • Inflammation from a leaky and dysfunctional gut has been linked to the development of Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) 
  • Microbial gut dysfunction has been linked to a changed in the blood-retinal barrier, that can contribute to retinal disease such as glaucoma.  

What causes our microbiome to be dysfunctional?  

  • Medications such as antibiotics 
  • Antibiotics disrupt the natural balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut 
  • Ultra-processed foods and refined sugars 

What can we do?  

Eat for a healthy microbiome! 

  • Increase consumption of plant foods  
  • Eat fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, raw sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables, and kombucha  
  • Eat only unprocessed foods that are low in sugar  
  • Avoid unhealthy fats, sugars, artificial sweeteners, additives and preservatives as they feed an unhealthy microbiome  
  • Microbiome superfoods that contain exactly the kind of fiber that feed many beneficial species: Asparagus, carrots, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, leeks, onions, radishes, and tomatoes  
  • Take a probiotic on a regular basis for maintenance of a healthy gut 
  • How do you know which probiotics to take? Ask us at your next appointment which probiotic strains are optimal for overall health! 

Remember, food truly can be utilized to not only prevent but cure many ailments within our body. We just need to know what and how to eat!  

You are what you eat, said Emily Chew, MD, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology in a news release. “I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking. Chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity, and diabetes, all have roots in poor dietary habits. It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking” 

Because Gut health is tied into the health of your eyes, and your body, you can find Probiotics to improve the health of your gut microbiome at our online store, with direct shipping to you!  

Click here to order online.

Written by Dr. Rana Taji

Dr. Rana Taji has been in clinical practice since 2010. She practices full-scope comprehensive care, with a particular emphasis on ocular disease management and treatment. Prior to practicing in Canada, she worked at a large ophthalmology clinic in Northern Virginia for 5 years, enjoying full scope of practice while also serving as a clinical sub-investigator on several FDA clinical trials.

More Articles By Dr. Rana Taji

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