Dr. Maya Shetreat, MD

Neurologist, Herbalist, Urban Farmer, and Author of The Dirt Cure

A neurologist, herbalist, urban farmer, and author, Dr. Shetreat has been featured in the New York Times, The Dr. Oz Show, NPR, The Telegraph, Sky News, and more. Dr. Maya teaches Terrain Medicine™, earth-based programs for transformational healing at the Terrain Institute, which she co-founded. A lifelong student of ethnobotany, plant healing, and the sacred, Dr. Maya works and studies with indigenous communities and healers from around the world. Learn more about Dr. Shetreat at drmaya.com. drmaya.com

Dr. Maya's Tips For
A Healthy Microbiome

Dr. Nicole's Top Picks


I started working with the microbiome and gut-brain connection over 15 years ago, after helping to heal my infant son following a long course of antibiotics and steroids. Back then, very few people were talking about the microbiome and it certainly wasn't making newspaper headlines or covers of magazines! I was determined to find answers to help him, and found fascinating information about food, gut and microbiome buried deep in the scientific literature. After helping my son heal, I began to apply the principles of The Dirt Cure in caring for patients in my pediatric neurology practice. I saw what seemed like the most miraculous transformations in adults and children with migraines, seizures, ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, chronic pain, infertility and many more. All health begins with our relationship with the natural world around us - especially microbes and the microbiome!
The one tip for wellness: Get dirty! Make sure you expose yourself to diverse germs and microbes, eat fresh food from healthy soil, and get outdoors into nature at every opportunity. We are healthiest when the terrain within us (skin, organ systems, microbiome) aligns with the terrain around us - sun, soil, seeds, wind, water, plants and trees.
My top recommendation for food that can support your microbiome is to consume things that are bitter! I know some people may hear that and think it's really strange advice. Bitter foods certainly don't sound very delicious. But actually, a lot of people already consume bitter compounds without even realizing it. Coffee is a bitter plant tonic. Dark chocolate and citrus zest contain bitter compounds. So do dark leafy greens like kale, collards and other popular veggies. Even chamomile tea is a mild bitter tonic. Some people even take herbal bitter tonics on purpose. Why? Bitter foods boost immunity, enhance gut health, help with detoxification, balance blood sugar and insulin levels and uplevel mitochondria and energy function. You can't go wrong making sure you eat and drink bitters daily for microbiome and overall health!
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