Updated: Feb 1
There are many organisms living in our bodies. They help us stay healthy. Sometimes, microorganisms can also make us sick. The human gut is populated by over 100,000m microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi.
The gut microbiome is a vital part of our bodies that influences mood, happiness, and overall health. It's also known to produce a high amount of serotonin, which can help lower stress.
We grew up thinking that avoiding bacteria is important to maintain a healthy body. Not all bacteria are bad. They only thrive when we keep consuming lots of beneficial bacteria.
How do we support our gut microbiome?
A lot of us have a short list of actions that we can do to improve our health and allow it to thrive?
Sleep: Eight hours a day is the average amount of sleep we should get. It's known that sleep and the microbiome are connected.
Exercises: Studies show that regular exercise can support a diverse gut microbiome. Movement can be as simple as walking or playing with kids.
Play in the Soil: Soil is known to have a beneficial effect on our bodies. It can help nourish our bodies and improve our microbiome. Give kids the opportunity to play in the soil by planting a small home garden.
Eat Real Nutrient Foods: Dense nutrient foods are full of beneficial bacteria that our bodies need to thrive. They also contribute to a healthy microbiome by providing our bodies with prebiotics. Our modern diets do not have many of the foods that contain pre-and pro-biotics.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Examples of probiotic foods are
Kefir (unsweetened fermented milk)
Plain, full-fat yoghurt
Apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”)
Naturally, fermented sauerkraut
Naturally, fermented soy sauce
Although some food groups can contain probiotics, not all of them do. For instance, not all yoghurts contain active cultures. Not all fermented foods have live cultures. Some examples of fermented foods do not have probiotics are beer, chocolate, soya sauce wine, etc.
Pre-biotics foods are fiber rich. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of pre-biotics. For example:
Leafy Vegetables like Spinach
Things or Substances that hurt out Gut Microbes
Antibiotics kill good bacteria while wiping out the bad. Before you take them, make sure you know the various things to consider when taking them.
Nonsteroidal anti-Inflammatory drugs can also affect the balance of the bacteria in the gut.
Hormones: Conventional meat and milk contain hormones that are used to increase a cow's milk production and put it on weight. These hormones can also affect our microbiome.
Acid Blockers: Some studies suggest that taking acid blockers for heartburn and acid reflux can increase the risk of certain gut imbalances.
Chemicals: Many chemicals found in plastic have endocrine-disrupting properties. When used repeatedly, they can interact with our bodies and interfere with our hormones and microbes
The foods that are unsupportive of our health can also harm our microbiome. They include highly refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, added chemicals, dyes and seed oils.
Raw sauerkraut is a great way to support the gut microbiome. It’s been known that our bodies have a great deal of control over our food choices and eating whole, living foods is a great way to get started.
References & Further Reading
Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health
Ana M Valdes, associate professor
Jens Walter, CAIP chair for nutrition, microbes, and gastrointestinal health
Eran Segal, professor,
Tim D Spector, professor
BMJ2018; 361doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2179(Published 13 June 2018
The gut microbiome in health and in disease
Microbiome Research Is Becoming the Key to Better Understanding Health and Nutrition
Probiotic foods: What to know
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