Healing Your Heart Through Your Gut

The Gut Heart Connection

Now that we’ve covered the the deets behind heart disease, how to eat your way to a healthier ticker, and have dispelled some of the most common heart related myths , there’s one last way you can help your body out: through your gut.

While the digestive system isn’t the most glamorous of topics, it’s extremely important and fascinating. Your gut is a big deal people! So fasten your seatbelts, here we go.

How does it connect?

The little guys in your gut can seriously impact your body weight and insulin production (reducing risk for Type 2 Diabetes). But how does gut health impact your heart?

Cleveland Clinic researchers discovered that individuals with a history of heart attack or stroke had higher blood levels of TMAO, or trimethylamine N-oxide if you want to get fancy. TMAO is a byproduct following the breakdown of dietary fats. They hypothesized that TMAO is caused by bacterial degradation in the colon.

So what can you do?

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: eat real food . Fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants help reduce levels of TMAO and your risk of developing heart disease. On the other end, artificial sweeteners have been shown to disrupt the gut environment , leading to a heightened risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Foods for a Healthy Gut

  • Yogurt and Fermented Foods. The benefits of probiotics in yogurt and fermented foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut and kimchi help to repopulate the colon with these “good” bacteria.
  • Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables. We’re throwing these all together because they all have one extra special nutrient in common: fiber. Fiber both “feeds” the bacteria in the gut to allow reproduction and multiplication of these good bacteria. Insoluble fiber (vegetable skins, whole grains) works to keep things moving through the colon.

A Greek Blueberry Yogo Parfait will get you the perfect dose of gut-friendly probiotics with antioxidant and fiber-filled blueberries.

* FUN FACT

Further research demonstrates that resveratrol (found in grapes, aka wine) may actively reduce the production of TMAO, thus reducing the risk for heart disease. So the benefits behind your nightly glass of vino may be truthful after all.

As we wrap up our four part series focused on heart health, remember one thing – real food means real health. Instead of eating nutritious food because “you feel like you should,” shift your mindset to eating the right foods because your body deserves it . Heart disease prevention is an ongoing effort that requires lifelong lifestyle shifts, not something to be forgotten about come March 1st.