Many of us have preconceived ideas about the microbiome, the trillions of bacteria that live in and on us. We think of them as a nuisance or a source of disease. But it’s time to look at it in a positive light and consider how essential these little guys are to our health.
The human microbiome is the collective population of all the bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that live in our bodies. We’re not just talking about our gut flora when we talk about our microbiome. It’s actually quite a complex ecosystem that’s made up of our skin (the largest part of our microbiome), microbes that live in our mouth and nose, and those that live in our ears.
Did you know that each of our cells is made up of over 100 trillion bacteria, which together make up our microbiome? In fact, the word microbiome comes from the Greek word for “life in space,” as bacteria largely colonize our bodies. In practical terms, this means that our bodies have become a kind of “ecosystem,” and the way we eat, exercise, and live shapes this ecosystem.
What is Microbiome?
“Microbiome” is a word that is thrown around a lot these days, but you probably don’t know what it means. A microbiome is the collective genomes of all microorganisms in the human body, which includes bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Depending on how they affect our health, they can be good for us or bad for us, but research indicates that the microbiota in our gut plays a critical role in our overall health.
So, why do we need to nourish our microbiome?
Human beings are not the only living things on this planet. Countless different organisms influence our bodies in countless different ways, and that’s why we need to nourish our microbiome. That’s what healthy people do.
Humans are made of trillions of cells that each contain a minuscule world within them. The bacteria and other microbes living in and on our bodies perform many vital functions that keep us healthy, and in many cases, we wouldn’t be able to survive without them. Many people don’t realize that to keep those microbes healthy; we need to nourish them with the right food.
Here’s how to nourish our microbiome:
Probiotics are live bacteria that are eaten as food or used therapeutically for a variety of health benefits. In a healthy person, probiotics are thought to add a layer of protection to the gut, keeping out unwanted microbes like bacteria, yeasts, and viruses while promoting healthy immune function and a strong, healthy immune system. But when a person’s gut becomes unhealthy, the probiotics can stop working to provide the same support, leaving people vulnerable to disease.
- Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are all the rage these days. They are the trendy choice for people who want the probiotics, enzymes, and other unique health benefits that come from eating fermented foods. It is thought that most of the good bacteria in our intestines is destroyed by commercially available probiotics, and the good bacteria in fermented foods act to replenish our system.
- Avoid Antibiotics
Antibiotics are one of the most overprescribed drugs in the world. They are used to fight infections that are not caused by bacteria and are used unnecessarily. Antibiotics have been proved to have many adverse effects, such as harming the immune system and making the body toxic due to their interaction with the gut flora. It is therefore recommended to avoid them.
- Eat green and leafy vegetables
Did you know that nearly half of your body weight is made up of the microorganisms living in your gut? These living beings help us maintain our health, and the most important of them are good bacteria. When you eat a diet rich in green vegetables, leafy greens, and other foods that contain fiber, the good bacteria thrive.
- Avoid processed foods and sugar
We know that processed foods—including those loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils—can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. They disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria—the microbiome—in our guts, leading to an increase in all sorts of ailments, including obesity and diabetes, not to mention sluggish digestion.
Your body is part of a whole, which is made up of various parts. And each part of your body is an entire ecosystem, with its own unique functions and its own community of benevolent and unfortunately not-so-benevolent microorganisms, which you can think of as your microbiome.