As one of the premier gastroenterologists of our time, Dr. Hiromi Shinya bases his dietary philosophy on a unique perspective of his experience in examining the intestines of over 300,000 patients. Dr. Shinya was the medical pioneer of the endoscopic removal of precancerous polyps from the colon. This technique revolutionized medicine making it far safer than the invasive major abdominal surgery used prior.
Although Dr. Shinya made major contributions to surgical treatment, his true passion was the relationship between diet and intestinal health. It led him to the discovery of the important role that both food and digestive enzymes play in overall digestive health.
What constitutes a gut-healthy diet? Let’s talk a look at the key principles Dr. Shinya provides in his book, The Enzyme Factor.
Key 1. Eat 85 to 90% of Your Diet as Plant-based Foods
The anatomy of the human digestive tract favors such a dietary composition. There is also now a tremendous amount of scientific support on the health benefits of a diet composed predominantly of plant food.
Dr. Shinya believes that about 50% of the diet should consist of a variety of legumes and whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats, and a variety of beans; including, kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and others.
Thirty percent of the diet should be in the form of green leafy vegetables and richly-colored root vegetables including yams, carrots, and beets, and sea vegetables.
The diet should also provide two servings of fruit per day and the daily consumption of ¼ to ½ cup nuts and seeds.
Key 2. Eat a Small Amount of Animal-based Foods
While overconsumption of animal-based foods should be avoided, the truth is that these are nutrient-dense foods that supply important high-quality protein, iron, vitamin B12, and other critical nutrients. Keep intake to no more than 3 to 4 ounces daily in the form of fish, poultry such as chicken, turkey, and duck, and eggs. When consuming fish, preferably choose smaller fish like sardines and anchovies, or wild salmon because of their lower mercury levels.
Key 3. Limit or Eliminate Dairy
Milk and other dairy products are often difficult to digest and create gut issues for many people. This is especially prevalent in individuals who are Asian or Black given the higher probability to be lactase deficient in the intestinal lining.
Key 4. Eat a High Enzyme Diet
In addition to taking ShinyaLAB products to provide extra enzymes to support digestion, eating foods with high enzyme activity is also encouraged. These foods include raw fruits and vegetables, as well as lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables, sea vegetables, and fermented foods such as kimchi, pickled vegetables, natto, tempeh, and miso.
Key 5. Eat the Right Type of Fats
The type of fat that you select in your diet plays a big role in your health. Try to focus on whole food sources of healthy oils such as olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds versus refined vegetable oils, especially from soy, corn, safflower, etc. Reducing animal-based foods, especially meat and dairy, is encouraged to avoid fats that tend to promote inflammation. Fish and fish oil supplements are recommended and make a lot of sense due to their beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Key 6. Drink 8-10 Glasses of Water Per Day
This recommendation is one most people take for granted, but it is critical to our health. After all, our body is composed of 80% water. We need to replenish it every day by eating foods with high water content as well as drinking eight to ten glasses of water each day. Frequent consumption of herbal teas is also encouraged.
Key 7. Thoroughly Chew Your Food
Chewing each mouthful of food at least 30 times goes a long way in improving digestion. Doing so allows the food to be broken down and mixed with salivary enzymes. It also stimulates the vagus nerve to prepare the stomach for the food about to be swallowed.