Joovvin' with Dr. Steven Gundry
Joovv recently sat down with Dr. Steven Gundry for a conversation about diet, gut health, and the impact of light therapy. As a clinician and author investigating the impact of various foods on human health, Dr. Gundry has become a leading figure in favor of focusing on the microbiome of the gut. He has also raised awareness about lectins and polyphenols, two key plant ingredients that he says have a big impact on your gut and overall health.
You can listen to the full interview right here. Check out the summary below to get a healthy, lectin-free serving of Dr. Gundry’s views on gut health, plants, and food.
All Disease Begins in The Gut
Hippocrates said “all disease begins in the gut” over two thousand years ago, and that wisdom still rings true today. Dr. Gundry fully agrees with this statement, and he believes that all diseases can be eliminated in the gut as well. He’s developed that belief over the course of his 20+ years of research and patient care. Dr. Gundry says that the state of our gut health has a major impact on our overall health, including risks for heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and brain disease.
Lectins: What Are They? Why Do They Matter?
Lectins are proteins in certain plants that act as a defense against being eaten by animals. Dr. Gundry is a leading voice on lectins and their risks, saying they can actually break the connections between the cells that line our gut, leading to a symptom called increased intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.”
Dr. Gundry notes an interesting (and scary) potential health risk associated with lectins: their ability to climb the vagus nerve from our stomachs, all the way into our brains, where they interfere with the blood-brain barrier. Dr. Gundry says this can affect a person’s Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s risk.
How To Avoid Lectins
Dr. Gundry’s work and best-selling books have outlined optimal diets that avoid lectins and embrace polyphenols and other healthy natural components. Foods filled with lectins include most grains (not including millet and sorghum), beans, and plants in the nightshade family like potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes, among others. Dr. Gundry advises removing seeds and peeling fruits and vegetables before eating to cut down on lectins. If you want to make beans, he recommends cooking them in a pressure cooker to eliminate excess lectins.
Dr. Gundry spoke about how many cultures have figured out ways of avoiding lectins, like soaking beans, and slow cooking over low heat to break down lectins.
What About Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are another component of many plants, used to protect themselves from harsh conditions like too much sunlight, which can scorch leaves. They’re also what create the beautiful reds and oranges we see in the fall. Whereas Dr. Gundry has made a name warning against the dangers of lectins, he is totally pro-polyphenols, saying they're packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits for the gut and body.
Which Foods Contain Polyphenols?
Dark colored fruits have higher amounts of polyphenols. Strangely enough, raspberries and blackberries contain more than the darker blueberries. This is because blueberries have been bred to contain high sugar content and have lost much of their natural polyphenol content.
How Can Red Light Therapy Affect Gut Health?
Dr. Gundry believes red light therapy can have a positive effect on the gut’s microbiome, which is sensitive to healthy wavelengths of natural light.
Which Foods Support a Healthy Gut?
These are some of Dr. Gundry’s top picks:
- Olive Oil: One of Dr. Gundry’s “Gundryisms” is that “the only purpose of food is to get olive oil into your mouth.”
- Prebiotic Fiber: Foods like radicchio, Italian red lettuce, and artichokes are rich in prebiotic fiber, which has a major positive effect on the gut’s microbiome.
- Yams and Jicama: Dr. Gundry says these are two of the best ways to feed friendly bacteria into your gut.
Think About Your Gut!
Dr. Gundry’s biggest advice is to pay more attention to your gut health and how the foods you eat affect the gut. Check out the full interview to get even more tips and insights into gut health and good eating.