Would you be surprised to learn that you are a symbiotic creature in mutualistic relationships with a host of beneficial organisms, including bacteria and viruses that live inside your body? That’s right, bacteria and viruses that benefit us – not to be confused with similar bugs and microorganisms that do us harm. These organisms include bacteria and viruses which reside in your intestines, the whole of which is called the microbiome. You cannot live without them, and they cannot live without you. We were all born with a ‘starter’ microbiome that our mothers provided to us in the womb. Within a few years, our personal microflora matured to the point that they help us with our digestion and boost our immune system, among other things.
You probably have millions inside your guts right now. In fact, if you don’t your health may be suffering. An unbalanced microbiome can negatively effect your other organs, your long-term health, your mood (including depression), your relationships, and many other dimensions of your life. The microbiome is critical to your good health and well-being.
A diverse microbiome flora is highly desirable for a healthy gut, so feed your microbiome the good stuff. Eat a diverse range of foods, including plenty of fiber (fruits, veggies, whole grains). Excellent food choices include asparagus, avacodos, broccoli, bananas, kefir, live-culture yogurt, miso, lentils, beans, almonds, wild salmon (for the omega-3 fatty acids), and fermented foods (for example: sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha). You can also benefit from red wine (in moderation), but avoid consuming too much alcohol of any kind.
You’ll want to avoid certain foods such as sugar, dairy, soy, and those that contain gluten (which goes by many other names when listed as ingredients on processed food – your best bet is to avoid processed foods).
Also, avoid stress, and don’t take oral antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
Surprisingly, quality sleep every night is as beneficial to your microbiome flora as it is for you.
This topic is so important to your health, it can’t be overstated. There are so many great videos on the subject it would have been inexcusable to just offer one or two, so here are six that are outstanding. The first one is very simple and suitable for introducing children to their microbiome. The videos become more complex and in depth as they go on, but every one of them is worth your time. The information here could change your life permanently… for the better.
“Introducing The Human Gut Microbiome” (3:07):
“Why is the gut microbiome important?” (2:20):
“The #1 Ingredient to Improve Your Gut Microbiome | Katherine Courage” (2:38):
“4 Surprising Things That Are Bad for Your Gut Bacteria” (5:39):
“Human Gut Microbiome” (11:31):
“Your Gut Microbiome: The Most Important Organ You’ve Never Heard Of | Erika Ebbel Angle | TEDxFargo” (11:28):
The human microbiome is an incredibly complex subject. I hope you’ll be inspired to research the subject further on your own (or better yet with friends and family) and begin eating as if your life depended on it. Because it does.
Question Of The Night: Relative to the importance of other aspects of your life, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is most important, 10 least important) rank the level of importance you place on your own personal health?