Refined carbohydrates fuel the bad gut bacteria in your body. As you age, your gut and body become more sensitive to these inflammation producing bacteria.
By Dawn Flemming
There is a vast array of information on the effect of carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates on gut health. As seniors grow older, their guts become more sensitive to foods that may have potential toxic effects on the inflammatory regulation of their digestive systems.
Your gut can contain up to five pounds of different bacteria. These are known as your body’s “microflora”. The good bacteria promote a healthy digestive system by regulating inflammation, fighting disease and infection, reducing the risk of cancer and yes, also reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s as well as mental health problems - did you know most of your serotonin (your happiness neurotransmitter) is produced in your gut?
Refined and processed carbohydrates are a food supply for the bad kind of bacteria in your gut. Feed them enough and they will overtake the good bacteria and produce also sorts of problems, including inflammation, cancer, neurological problems as well as mental health issues.
The Arthritis Foundation makes the following concluding remarks on the detrimental effects of processed and refined carbohydrates on seniors:
White flour products (breads, rolls, crackers) white rice, white potatoes (instant mashed potatoes, or french fries) and many cereals are refined carbohydrates. According to Scientific American, processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conditions. These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.
It is this inflammation that is at the source of gut problems and as a by-product, a contributing factor to diseases like arthritis.
If you are to consume carbohydrates, make sure to consume them with their fiber intact. Do not juice your fruits and stick to healthy, high fiber carbs like beans. Make sure to increase you healthy fats as they play a critical role in reducing inflammation in your gut. Healthy fats include sources like avocado, olive oil and nuts.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.