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How Your Heart Health and Stomach Are Connected

Stomach and heart health

Although we may not always think about it, everything in the body is connected.  Surprisingly your stomach has a lot to do with your heart health and other chronic diseases.

Over the past several years, scientists have developed a program known as The Human Microbiome Project which has dedicated its research to how the human microbiome manipulate health and disease.

Understanding Your Stomach

Our bodies start producing bacteria and microbes from the moment we are born.  Microbes can be found throughout our digestive system, but most live within the large intestine. “Our friendly gut microbes support digestion and the synthesis of several important nutrients such as biotin, vitamin B12, folic acid, thiamine and Vitamin K. They also protect us from harmful bacteria and pathogens while impacting our immune system and overall health.” Even though microbes can help, if there is an interruption in the balance, our immune systems may be affected and it can “contribute to immune disorders, obesity, heart disease, and even brain health.” Adding high amounts of fiber into your diet can help balance everything, reducing obesity and high cholesterol.

Understanding Your Heart

Foods such as meat and eggs may actually have a destructive effect on you heart health when metabolized by your stomach bacteria. “When certain animal foods that contain carnitine (found in meat) and choline (found in egg yolks and high fat dairy) are digested, gut flora breaks these substances down into a compound called trimethylalamine (TMA), which is absorbed in the bloodstream and metabolized to trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in the liver. TMAO then circulates in the blood where it can impact cholesterol metabolism and the transportation of cholesterol into the arteries. This process can contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, which, according to research from the Cleveland Clinic, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.”  Having a plant-based diet helps add to more friendly bacteria in your digestive system.  Studies have shown that having a diet full of fiber, and rich in plant foods can help improve your health.

Some foods that may help create healthy bacteria in your digestive system are: tempeh, miso, natto, plain yogurt, broccoli, Jerusalem artichokes, kimchi and sauerkraut.

Research on human microbiome continues to grow, and this is only the beginning of figuring out the impact the bacteria in our stomach has on our health as a whole.

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