You ARE a planet to billions of microbes, take care of the planet!!
The microbiome is under extensive scrutiny from the scientific world. Conclusions supporting its role in optimal health are astounding.
Many of us embark on faddy diets, take part in veganuary, dry January, give up sugar, go gluten free, but how many of us are paying particular care to our microbiome?
The best way to try and explain it's significance is with numbers. Our DNA produces only 20,000 genes whilst the microbes in our gut produce between 2-20 million genes. Looking at this way we are more ‘non-human’ than ‘human’.
Diet is the most efficient way to alter our microbes and they are fundamental to all that we are and all that we do. Our microbiome is our biggest detox organ, our chief nutrient generator, it affects our immune system, mitochondrial function, enzyme production, metabolic rate, regulates hormones and so much more. In exchange for their services we provide a place to live and food to eat.
There are billions of them – they are competing day after day and it is our job to encourage the healthy ones by providing the right foods. Eating the wrong foods encourages the ‘less friendly’ species and has the potential to affect our bodies causing inflammation and altered pathways.
Their favourite food is known as ‘prebiotics’ with the main component being fibre. Therefore all plant foods are an excellent addition to the diet. Another important consideration is diversity to ensure an assortment of ‘healthy’ microbes. As nutritional therapists we tend to advise difference in type and difference in colour. Don’t stick to broccoli, carrots and peas. Mash it up a bit (not mash up your broccoli carrots and peas that would be gross!), eat seasonal, eat fresh, eat organic but most importantly eat diversely. A diet high in sugar, fat and processed foods is likely to encourage the opportunistic bacteria, yeast and pathogens. These will then crowd out the ‘good guys’ and that’s when things start to go awry. For example the bad guys can create a leaky gut, undigested food gets into the bloodstream setting off an immune cascade that can culminate in autoimmunity (where your immune system begins to attack your own cells).
We have an obligation to nurture the good guys, when we don't we are the ones that suffer the consequences.
“ All the bacteria that coat our skin and live in our intestines. They fend off bad bacteria. They PROTECT us. You cant even digest your food without the bacteria that are in your gut. They have enzymes and proteins that allow you to metabolise foods you eat.” (Bonnie Bassler)
If you want to find out more about your microbiome book a free telephone consultation with me to see what I can offer.
“ Within one linear centimetre of your lower colon there lives and works more bacteria (about 100 billion) than all humans who have ever been born. Yet many people continue to assert that it is we who are incharge of the world.” (Neil deGrasse Tyson)
“Bacteria, the only culture some people have.” (Hesiod)