All tagged Digestion

A Must-Have Secret to Living like the World’s Healthiest People

Do you ever wonder how the healthiest people in the world live?

How are they so healthy? 

How do they live to 100 years and longer?

How is their quality of life so good?

The Blue Zones, the communities of the world’s healthiest people, have many habits and daily practices in common.

And one of those common habits is to put “loved ones first.”

My parents are in town from Virginia this week, which reminds me of one of the key secrets to living a long, healthy life.

The Blue Zones people never eat alone.

They sit down to a long meal with family and close friends.

They put loved ones first.

Two nights ago, Matt and my parents and I went out for dinner in our Historic Third Ward. 

We sat outside, good food, great company, on a warm summer evening for 2 ½ hours!

Now that’s a lot longer than I usually take to eat my meals 😉

And while that’s not doable every night of the week, the lesson is clear:

“How you eat can be as important as what you eat.”- Dan Buettner

Eating slowly, having great conversation with loved ones, creating stronger relationships all have a massive impact on our health.

The benefits of sitting down to dinner with family, close friends, and eating slowly are numerous:

  • Better digestion

  • Better food metabolism

  • Less risk of obesity

  • Less risk of being overweight

  • Less risk of overeating

  • Stronger relationships

Health is more than what we eat. 

It’s how we eat.  It’s how we spend our time.  And it’s who we spend our time with.  

What we eat is a small part of the picture of health.

The secret to living like the healthiest people in the world?

How they live.

The One Food to Help You Be Happier

You know the expression, “Happy Wife, Happy Life?”

Well, I’m proposing an updated version of that:

Happy Gut, Happy Life!

You’re right, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…

But it does happen to be more accurate.

That’s because the happiness hormone, serotonin, is mostly made in our gut.

In fact, it’s a whopping 90% of serotonin that is made in our gut!

Serotonin is the “feel good” happy hormone that affects our:

  • Mood

  • Sleep

  • Appetite

  • Digestion

And if we’re low on serotonin, we:

  • Feel low

  • Have trouble sleeping

  • Feel anxious

  • Have cravings for sweet and starchy food

And chronically, low serotonin can increase the risk of:

  • IBS

  • Heart disease

  • Osteoporosis

So how do we make sure our bodies are producing enough serotonin?

Well, it all starts in the gut.

The microbes in our colon determine whether our cells make enough serotonin.

If we have a healthy and diverse group of microbes, then our cells can make serotonin.

And how do we make sure we have a healthy and diverse group of microbes?

We feed the good bugs in our gut!

And what do the good microbes eat?


Now, fiber comes in many shapes and sizes (soluble, insoluble, resistant) but there’s one type I want you to focus on:


Prebiotics are the specific fiber-rich, fermentable foods that feed the good microbes in our gut. 

Here’s your must-have list of prebiotics to add to your meals:

  • Bananas

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Artichokes

  • Soybeans

  • Oatmeal

  • Flax

  • Barley

  • Greens

  • Berries

When the microbes eat these foods, they grow and multiply and thrive.

And why is this all important?

Remember, Happy Gut, Happy Life!

When we feed the good microbes, they repay us by helping cells make serotonin.

And that serotonin, in turn, helps us live happier lives.

Need a few prebiotic-rich recipes to put in your meal rotation?

Try one of these to get you started:

>>Zero-Added Sugar Zucchini Muffins

>>Vegan Raspberry Muffins

>>Swiss Bircher Muesli

>>Rosemary White Bean Cauliflower Soup

>>Sweet Potato, Red Onion, and Spiced Chickpea Salad

 Your Action Step: Choose one prebiotic from that list that you will add to one of your meals this week!