“That gut feeling” – 5 reasons to be pro microbes.
Happy microbes = healthy human bodies.
Until birth, we are cozily cocooned in the warm and sterile world of our mother’s womb. Then boom! That’s the end of that clean little bubble. We are lathered with our first dose of microbes as we make our way through the birth canal. Turns out that this lathering is a birth in itself. The microscopic creatures colonize the gut, mouth, genitals, and skin, forming an ecosystem akin to a protective rain jacket. This is the mircobiome.
The saying that “you are born alone and you will die alone”, only made sense before the invention of the microscope. Were not alone. We are literally crawling with bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “where’s the disinfectant?!”. But for health’s sake, this kind of thinking needs to shift.
The cells of our bodies are actually outnumbered 10-1 and these microscopic stow-aways are vital for our wellbeing. The majority of them are our closest (invisible) friends. These microbes have a symbiotic relationship with us and the deal is “win/win”. Some of them are just in it for the free ride – harmless cruisers here for the food, drink and the tropical climate. But then, of course, there are the
unwelcome guests. These are the GERMS we hear about in those never-ending soap and cleaner ads. Although these unfriendly tenants are parasitic and malicious they’re also essential for our survival as they test and strengthen our immune system.
5 reasons to love and care for our microscopic family:
1) True happiness comes from the gut:
Although that sounds like a fortune cookie quote, many studies now show that depression, anxiety and other forms of mental illness begin in the gut. These illnesses and dysfunctions arise from a deficiency in one specific type of microbial colony or an overgrowth of another. The experts claim that, in fact, 90 % of our bodies’ serotonin is made in the gut when an optimal amount of these good microbes are present So, it stands to reason that we need to keep the peace in there. We do this by eating fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha which are full of probiotic food for our microbes.
2) Listen to your gut and your head will follow:
There are certain kinds of bacteria that stimulate immune cells in the gut. The stimulation of these cells by the bacteria trigger an alarm in the brain,
which assists in the recovery process of head injuries. Right now at Harvard University, Robert D. Moir, PhD, and his team are trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Their theory is that particular microbes are acting to protect brain cells by surrounding viruses, bacteria and fungi, and clumping the offending pathogens into a ball so they can not harm the brain. You can read more on this here:
3) Your cravings may not be your own:
Research is revealing that certain bacteria influence our behaviors. Our personal cravings, aversions, and preferences can be greatly determined by the needs of our unique mircobiomes. For example, the unreasonable obsession with chocolate that you may have might not be due to a lack of resolve but rather an overabundance of the carb craver, Akkermansia muciniphila. At the same time, when we have a healthy abundance of “good” microbes, we maintain healthy cravings. We can, however, condition our microbiome by feeding our symbiotic friends and starving those that harm us. So, your diet will make or break your microbiome and the quickest way to decimate the health-promoting microbes in your gut is to eat processed foods. Due to hormone, vaccine and other injections, meat from livestock raised in confined animal feeding operations also has a devastating effect on our microbiomes. Additionally, high sugar diets will promote an overgrowth of detrimental fungi, yeast, and bacteria.
4) Microbes can alter your genes and help you live longer.
Another recent discovery has been that one’s microbiome is a contributing factor that affects genetic expression. Genes in the body are turned on and off depending on whichever microbes are present. Increasingly, the overuse of antibiotics is instrumental in wiping out many of our beneficial microbial colonies. Research shows that some microbes specifically help to prevent certain diseases. For example, simply by eradicating four species of bacteria (Lactobacillus, Allobaculum, Rikenelleceae, and Candidatus arthromitus) researchers were able to trigger the metabolic changes in mice that led to obesity. There is mounting evidence that your microbiome is one of the preeminent factors determining the overall longevity of your lifespan.
5) Microbes detoxify the body and relieve the effects of stress.
Just as we breathe in oxygen (mostly) and exhale carbon dioxide, microbes absorb toxins that would otherwise be harmful to us and release harmless waste that may even benefit us. A recent study shows that people experiencing high levels of stress have less diverse bacterial communities in their guts than those people who cope with stress well. The study hasn’t yet yielded conclusive reasons why a happier gut means less stress, but the correlation is undeniable.
And so it seems obvious then that if we keep our microbes happy and thriving we’ll be and feel healthier. Optimizing your gut flora could be one of the most important things you do for your health. To gain all the benefits of being a host to trillions of microbes we need to ensure that the relationship is mainly symbiotic.
Here are 5 great ways to love, support and care for your microbiome:
1) Eat fermented foods, e.g: kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha.
2) Take probiotics – http://nutritionofthefuture.co.za/gi-probalance-2/
3) Boost your fibre intake – https://healthwholeness.com/fiber/benefits-of-fiber
4) Get your hands dirty – there are essential microbes in healthy topsoil.
5) Breathe. Take as many deep breaths as you can every day.
Things to avoid for a healthy microbiome:
1) Overuse of antibiotics
2) Processed foods and commercially raised meat and dairy
3) Fluorinated water
4) Household chemical products
5) Antibacterial soaps
” Let us support our microbiomes to live happy and healthy lives together – It is a win/win “