‘We are in such a con­stant state of stress that our gut never gets the chance to do its job prop­erly’

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - HEALTH REPORT -

mi­cro­biome could be caus­ing ev­ery­thing from Alzheimer’s to autism. He claims his pa­tients see dra­matic im­prove­ments with an altered diet. ‘They cut carbs and add healthy fats, es­pe­cially choles­terol – a key player in brain and psy­cho­log­i­cal health,’ he writes in his book Brain Maker (R300, Hod­der UK). ‘I’ve watched this fun­da­men­tal di­etary shift sin­gle-hand­edly ex­tin­guish de­pres­sion and all of its kiss­ing cousins, from chronic anx­i­ety to poor mem­ory and even ADHD.’ Tim is slightly more cau­tious. ‘When it comes to ill­ness, we need much more re­search to dis­cover whether a dis­or­dered mi­cro­biome is caus­ing prob­lems or sim­ply mak­ing them worse.’ Tim be­lieves that in the fu­ture a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the mi­cro­biome could lead to per­son­alised diet ad­vice. ‘Some peo­ple can eat meat with­out any ill e ects. Some peo­ple re­act di er­ently to pasta, or lentils. There is even a “skinny bac­te­ria” – when the bac­te­ria was trans­planted into their mi­cro­biome they gained less weight.’ Per­haps, then, the ul­ti­mate ques­tion is how to main­tain a bal­anced mi­cro­biome. In his book, David out­lines his ideal diet to boost bac­te­ria. It is rich in pro­bi­otic fer­mented foods like kim­chi and sauer­kraut, un­pro­cessed meat and veg­eta­bles and dark choco­late and red wine. Tim says we need to think of our mi­cro­biome like a gar­den – we need to nour­ish the soil (in­testines) for healthy plants (bac­te­ria), while min­imis­ing weeds (dis­ease-caus­ing mi­crobes). ‘It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that you are never din­ing alone – you are with your mi­crobes.’

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