You’re not alone.
The human gastrointestinal tract contains billions of bacterial cells, which is about 10 times the amount of human cells in our entire body. This diverse biome includes microorganisms such as archaea, viruses and unicellular eukaryotes.
It sounds scary. Or even disgusting. But these little guys offer a wonderful symbiotic relationship with the human body to help it function at its best.
Your microbiome is first influenced by your mother’s diet and lifestyle while you are in the womb. After you are born, the diversity of your microbiome is shaped by foods, drugs, and chemicals. Even your mood can influence it.
Why are these microorganisms so important?
Some of the functions of the microbiome include:
- Growth of the brain and nerves
- Prevent pathogens from entering our system
- Help control our appetite
- Digestion of fiber, carbohydrates and protein for energy
- Produce B vitamins and vitamin K
- Break down cholesterol, bile, and some chemicals that might be in our food
- Build the immune system
- Build, repair and strengthen intestinal walls and cells
- Influence our mood
These are important tasks. When your gut isn’t healthy, your body isn’t healthy.
Some conditions linked to poor gut health include:
- Colitis / Crohn’s disease
- Colon Cancer
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Liver disease
The power of the microbiome is truly amazing and it’s worth giving it a little love.
How to develop a healthier microbiome? Follow the four F.
1. Load up on fiber
The goal is around 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men. Aim for a variety of foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
2. Feed fermentation
Include foods fermented with natural probiotics like yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha, or fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi.
3. Find the focus
High stress can destroy some of the good bacteria in your gut. Make stress management part of your daily routine.
4. Fight the fantasies
When the candy calls, tell them to leave. Excessive sugars and refined foods will destroy your good bacteria.