Did you know that gut health starts at birth? And even children as young as 3 who develop a healthy microbiome balance are known to benefit in longevity, overall health.
Though, not all of us have had the luxury of literally a full-lifetime of gut balance, and certainly we cannot go back in time...
But we can turn our focus to optimizing digestion as it currently stands. Don’t dwell on the old when it comes to digestive health – even if we can’t hit rewind – it’s always a case of ‘sooner rather than later.’ Let’s start now.
Should you be concerned with a healthy gut?
Those with breakouts or skin conditions, a wobbly mood, metabolic syndromes, or chronic inflammation should not ignore the possibility of an unhappy gut as part (or root cause) to such problems, just to name a few.
Once thought largely irrelevant to health, gut health fortunately is more mainstream by the day. Now, it’s established that wellness (and disease) may rest on those interactions: what you eat, how it’s digested, even genetics.
How You Can Optimize Digestion to Improve your Health and Wellness
Here we’ll cover one of the biggest hitters when it comes to your gut, and why it serves to keep a cool head, listen to your body, and experiment with leading solutions like wise dietary choices, and even special polyphenols in matcha.
Also, considering that the gut has thousands of different types of microbes, things quickly get complicated; the good news is by paying attention to both bacterial balance, you may be able to address your gut as one-in-the-same with the microbiome.
All while achieving a whole-tummy approach to wellness itself.
Common Digestive Problems: Identifying Bacterial Imbalance
Abdominal pain is an obvious symptom of ‘something up in the gut,’ especially after eating – but is it always that straightforward? Not necessarily.
Feeling tired or fatigued is one such subtler symptom speaking to possible dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) in the gut, as do hormonal issues.
Since imbalances differ, here’s some things to know:
- The type of bacteria in your microbiome matters – you need to have plenty of friendly/healthy bacteria.
- The nutrients they are given can positively change how they behave – a function of diet and wise supplements, e.g. matcha tea, medicinal fungi.
- The way they have been ‘told’ to digest and manufacture other compounds – greatly determined by lifestyle, genetics, and diet as well.
Understanding Dysbiosis through Diet and Lifestyle
Gut bacteria are conditioned everyday by lifestyle and other physiological happenings, setting the stage to how they respond.
Though some may be naturally more tolerable to certain foods, a processed diet is one prominent example, encouraging unfriendly strains of microbes and possibly faulty digestion.
Dysbiosis Related to Obesity
It is also one which may encourage elevated firmicutes, or fat-forming bacteria in the gut. In overweight subjects, microbiome greater consists of these bacteria, which may metabolize (absorb) more total calories from the same food. 
These are able to extract calories from fiber and may account for up to 150 calories more per day, than someone with a balanced microbiome.
Physiological Basis of Bacterial Imbalance?
Furthermore, the presence of ‘too many’ firmicutes is considered a stress-state. Such exchange pulls more calories from food eaten, but means increased release of toxins, inflammatory compounds in the body.
- This may cause a negative feedback loop with the rest of our wellness, including hormones, inflammation, and cognitive health problems.
- It’s possible that the microbiome becomes hospitable to this dysbiosis by a diet-based physiological trigger, as in, an evolved mechanism to try and survive with less food.
Careful of Sugar for Optimizing Digestion
One of the leading causes thought to offset gut balance is refined sugar. Foods which are high in added sugar fuel a narrow group of bacteria, without nurturing those which are reliant on fibers or complex-carbs.
It’s that tipping of the scale, which is suggested as a leading cause behind dysbiosis.
Do Energy Drinks and Coffee Damage Gut Health?
Sugars are naturally present in foods, but it’s exactly the high uptake of nonnutritive sweetener which may pose risk to wellness – resulting in inflammation, toxin release – and costing whole-body (even mental) health.
- If you struggle with sugar intake through coffee or energy drinks, it’s assuring to know that matcha green tea has a comparable energy boost, while avoiding indigestion, irritated GI tract; it’s also naturally probiotic.
Reducing FODMAP Foods: Does the Science Hold up?
The acronym FODMAP describes short-chain carbs and sugar alcohols which are commonly documented for their poor digestibility – especially in the small intestine.
Rather than a balanced metabolism of these foods, firmicutes disproportionally set in on these compounds and begin to ferment them to produce energy.
Individuals may tolerate most, or, only a few FODMAP foods; it’s important to experiment with diet alongside your physician to understand your specific reactivity, though offending foods typically include:
- Fruits high in fructose
- Grains including wheat
- Dairy (lactose)
- Legumes (e.g. chickpeas)
- Sugar-alcohol/fructose-containing sweeteners
Sugar Alcohols and FODMAP
The fermentation which occurs to process these food compounds is thought to cause GI symptoms. Reasons suggested include gas/bloating, and osmotically elevated intestinal fluid.
Also, while individual reactions to FODMAP foods are set by a number of unique details, imbalances set forth directly by lifestyle and diet may aggravate symptoms.
With that in mind, here are a few helpful strategies to keep in mind:
- The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is frequently suggested for a variety of sensitivities, and may aid in restoring digestive balance.
- Preparing foods with spices reported with antimicrobial properties (oregano, peppermint) which may support healthy bacterial balance.
- Naturally, identify sensitivities to FODMAP foods, and adjust.
- Matcha Green Tea 2 or 3 times per day. The abundance of potent antioxidants unique to matcha are widely established probiotics.
Other Benefits of Keeping your Gut Happy
There are other direct benefits of keeping your gut healthy and happy. Digestive issues are likely to clear up, and other parts of your health will benefit as well.
One special example is the microglia, also known as the housekeeper cells of the brain. These scavenge debris and coordinate with the gut-brain axis to keep health running smooth.
When your gut is happy, your brain (and microglia) light up with joy too:
- For example, healthy microglia in action may help prevent cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s.
The Bottom Line – Restoring Gut Balance with Diet, Matcha Green Tea
It’s possible that with a couple, relatively simple changes, your gut health can begin to prosper. In the case of FODMAPs and associated imbalance, the changes above may reduce IBS symptoms in the long-term by up to 75%. 
Remember, sensitives vary and it’s not recommended to cut out a whole list of foods all at once. In fact, nutritional deficiencies may develop by those overcorrecting their diet.
If you’re worried about missing nutrients as you adjust and adapt your diet, it’s good to know matcha can help fill in the gaps.
- High quality green tea powder is like a daily multivitamin, and is a near-complete source of amino acids, not to mention nature’s favorite source of those probiotic antioxidants.
Ultimately, physicians now recognize your microbiome as a keystone of overall health, colloquially a ‘second-brain,’ the authority over what you absorb, and how the rest of our body behaves to the fuel and signals received through the gut.
Next, we’ll review the myths and facts behind ‘Leaky Gut Syndrome,’ a controversial yet evidenced condition playing into the hand of microbiome balance. For now, keep an eye on diet, and definitely don’t forget the matcha.
-Team Matcha Kari
 Cann, K. Gut Health and Obesity.
 Hill, P., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2017). Controversies and recent developments of the low-FODMAP diet. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 13(1), 36.
 Jin, J. S., Touyama, M., Hisada, T., & Benno, Y. (2012). Effects of green tea consumption on human fecal microbiota with special reference to Bifidobacterium species. Microbiology and immunology, 56(11), 729-739.