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BJJ & Your Microbiome

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BJJ & Your Microbiome

"The road to health is paved with good intestines".

My gut tells me a lot.  My gut tells me if something is weird.  My gut tells me if I'm in love.  My gut tells me I'm scared.  My gut tells me I'm happy.  My gut tells me if I'm sick.  My gut tells me everything I need to know.  Why is that?  My mom always said "trust your gut". I always go with my first gut answer on tests.

Why wouldn't I trust my brain? 

There's something chaotic working inside our bodies and like Jiu Jitsu this chaos is actually good for our body, mind and soul.  

We have a Microbiome!

While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are actually extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.

Gut Biome is the bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic living things referred to as microorganisms, or microbes, for short.

Trillions of these microbes exist mainly inside your intestines and on your skin.

Most of the microbes in your intestines are found in a "pocket" of your large intestine called the cecum, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome.

Although many different types of microbes live inside you, bacteria are the most studied.

In fact, there are more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. There are roughly 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells. That means you are more bacteria than human .

What's more, there are up to 1,000 species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome, and each of them plays a different role in your body. Most of them are extremely important for your health, while others may cause disease .

Altogether, these microbes may weigh as much as 2–5 pounds (1–2 kg), which is roughly the weight of your brain. Together, they function as an extra organ in your body and play a huge role in your health.

The food you eat affects the diversity of your gut bacteria.

As your microbiome grows, it affects your body in a number of ways, including:

  • Digesting breast milk: Some of the bacteria that first begin to grow inside babies' intestines are called Bifidobacteria. They digest the healthy sugars in breast milk that are important for growth.Trusted SouTrusted SourcTrusted Sou
  • Digesting fiber: Certain bacteria digest fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids, which are important for gut health. Fiber may help prevent weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and the risk of cancer.
  • Helping control your immune system: The gut microbiome also controls how your immune system works. By communicating with immune cells, the gut microbiome can control how your body responds to infection.
  • Helping control brain health: New research suggests that the gut microbiome may also affect the central nervous system, which controls brain function. 

Having too many unhealthy microbes can lead to disease.

An imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes is sometimes called gut dysbiosis, and it may contribute to weight gain as well as a number of other digestive issues.

Here are many ways to improve your gut microbiome, including:

  • Eat a diverse range of foods: This can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is an indicator of good gut health. In particular, legumes, beans and fruit contain lots of fiber and can promote the growth of healthy Bifidobacteria .
  • Eat fermented foods: Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir all contain healthy bacteria, mainly Lactobacilli, and can reduce the amount of disease-causing species in the gut .
  • Limit your intake of artificial sweeteners: Some evidence has shown that artificial sweeteners like aspartame increase blood sugar by stimulating the growth of unhealthy bacteria like Enterobacteriaceae in the gut microbiome .
  • Eat prebiotic foods: Prebiotics are a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. Prebiotic-rich foods include artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples.
  • Breastfeed for at least six months: Breastfeeding is very important for the development of the gut microbiome. Children who are breastfed for at least six months have more beneficial Bifidobacteria than those who are bottle-fed .
  • Eat whole grains: Whole grains contain lots of fiber and beneficial carbs like beta-glucan, which are digested by gut bacteria to benefit weight, cancer risk, diabetes and other disorders .
  • Try a plant-based diet: Vegetarian diets may help reduce levels of disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli, as well as inflammation and cholesterol .
  • Eat foods rich in polyphenols: Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy bacterial growth.
  • Take a probiotic supplement: Probiotics are live bacteria that can help restore the gut to a healthy state after dysbiosis. They do this by "reseeding" it with healthy microbes .

My point for this article is simple.  Our guts run our lives.  If that's true, Self discipline and a lifestyle change are typically the only way to ditch the bad habits.  Jiu Jitsu is a lifestyle that can teach us more than we realize.  Understanding who we are and how we run is a huge benefit to us on the mats. Many of the aches and pains we encounter during training can probably be sourced to what you eat.  Slowly cleaning up your diet 1 small step at a time until you have developed a new habit will serve you well as you age and continue practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

Inflammation caused by a compromised gut biome can become your number one enemy as you get older.  Eating foods that support your gut will keep you healthy and more durable in jiu jitsu.  When your internal systems run properly, your output will be more efficient and your energy level will rise. I hope this article gives you an urgency to do further research and seek a healthier lifestyle of nutrition and diet.



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