99% of all the genetic material that we have in our body is not from us. It is from gut “bugs,” as Dr. Gundry calls them. These “bugs” include bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms, and parasites. In fact, your own DNA impacts only 6% of your health. How is this information good news? Eating foods that feed the good gut “bugs” influences your health significantly more than your family genetics.
What do these gut “bugs” like to eat? They like bitter foods that contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds that plants use to protect themselves from getting sunburnt — and they also protect the plant from stress. In us, polyphenols protect our brain from stress and help us grow new brain cells. Olive oil is a great source of polyphenols, and we can cook with it because it doesn’t oxidize (get damaged) when it’s exposed to heat. The best olive oil comes from olives that are grown closest to the sun because they contain more polyphenols to protect them from getting burnt by the sun. Interestingly, organic plants are higher in polyphenols because they work harder than other plants to fend off insects. The more stress a plant undergoes, the more polyphenols they create to protect themselves.
If you eat olive oil, your body makes Vitamin C. Vitamin C is critical for repairing collagen. Olive oil also makes your blood vessels slippery so that cholesterol doesn’t stick to them. In three of the blue zones (areas where people live the longest, healthiest lives), people consume a liter of olive oil a week. One liter is the equivalent of 10-12 tablespoons per day.
Naked mole rats eat roots, tubers, and fungi (mushrooms). They live extensively longer than other rats that eat grains. Studies show that naked mole rats have the same microbiome as healthy 105-year-old humans because they both eat the same foods. Further, people who eat 2 cups of mushrooms a week don’t get Alzheimer’s. (As a side note, cook your mushrooms before you eat them.)
People who live the longest take Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 activates stem cells. (Intermittent fasting — eating within a certain time frame — also activates stem cells.) In addition, Vitamin D3 is one of the best antivirals.
Take long-chain omega-3 fat/fish oil/algae-based DHA and EPA. Your brain is approximately 70% fat. Half of that fat is DHA (fish oil). People with the highest levels of omega-3s have the largest brains and the largest hippocampus (where memory resides).
Did you know that your microbiome (your “bugs”) includes your oral microbiome? Your nose and mouth lead directly to the brain. People with poor dental hygiene get Alzheimer’s and coronary heart disease. Dr. Gundry conducted research on people who flossed every other day. The data indicated that the more people flossed, the more their health improved.