Keeping your gut in balance might not be as difficult as Nik Wallenda's tightrope stroll over Niagara Falls, but a healthy mix of microbial bacteria in your intestines is important for keeping you on the straight and narrow, too.
We now know that those teeming bacteria (they make up three to five pounds of your body weight and about 60 percent of the solid matter in your feces) are essential for digestive health, PLUS they help protect you against asthma, cancer, obesity and - according to research at Dr. Mike's Cleveland Clinic - they're an important defense against cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart attack. So how do you get a healthy balance of gut bacteria? Turns out, it takes a bit more than a daily yogurt.
A healthy mix of the trillions of gut bacteria now known to be your highly individual microbiome signature, more unique than fingerprints, depends on a full menu of tasty food. And the very best dietary lineup for everyone includes a daily dose of fiber, 100 percent whole grains, dry beans/lentils, extra-virgin olive oil, five servings of fruits or vegetables and no animal protein (animal protein isn't needed to get your muscle-building supply; if you want to eat it, stick with salmon, ocean trout and skinless poultry.) If you eat that guaranteed-to-make-your-RealAge-younger combo of goodies, you'll be able to lower your lousy LDL cholesterol, strengthen you immune system and soothe your digestion. So, do yourself a favor and adopt this diet to balance your own special brand of poop!
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.