YOUR GUT MICROBIOME AND WHY IT MATTERS
Posted on September 22 2018
This is a true story about you and a trillion of your closet (microbial) friends.
It totally blows my mind every single time I read facts about the microbiome. I can't help but wonder, "am I only part human?" In terms of cell numbers, I am (and you are) only about 10% human, the rest is bacteria! Bacteria, along with viruses and fungi, are microbes, and we're filled with them. Until now you may have thought your body was home to only one organism: you. There are in fact around 100 trillion bacteria in and on your body right now. Up to 500 different species! Don’t be worried or feel the need to run for a shower. It’s all good news! Without them, we’d be in trouble.
Then, for each one of your human cells, that is, for every cell that’s “you” there are an estimated 10 microbial cells. Each of these microbial cells comprise of their own individual microbiomes, too tiny to be seen with the naked eye. Conceptually, we should start to view them as a newly discovered organ, for they weigh about as much as our brains and are equally as vital!
Now, if that's not staggering, let’s take a look at your genes. Our human genes are out-numbered by 100 to 1 by microbial genes. Does this mean we are genetically 1% human and 99% bacterial! Wow, now it’s hurting my brain! Each one of us is a walking bacterial colony.
These bacteria are essential colonizers and should not be considered 'invaders' or harmful. Due to their sheer number, it's not surprising that the state of our microbiome has a direct impact on our health. The healthier the bacteria in your gut are, the better your mood is likely to be? The same goes for your immunity, your sleep and your skin. Bottom line - a healthy gut flora is a healthy you!
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
Microbes live all over your body. They live everywhere: on your skin and inside your mouth, your nose, your genitalia, urinary tract, and intestines. The types of microbes on your body vary depending on where they live. Just like different Eco systems found in nature. There are wet places, oily places and dry places. But the biggest and most important habitat is in the gut. Often referred to as your gut flora, it is the most complex and the most diverse. If something is wrong with your gut flora something is usually wrong with you!
WHAT ARE THE BACTERIA DOING?
The bacteria in the microbiome:
- help digest our food
- produce essential nutrients and vitamins
- reduce allergies
- regulate our immune system and protect us against disease
- control the growth of bad bacteria
- regulate our metabolism - how much energy we burn and how much fat we store
- Impact our behavior and mental health.
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR MICROBIOME
One of the easiest, and most effective ways to increase the good bacteria in your body and give your microbiome a healthy boost is to make conscious, everyday dietary changes. The foods you eat can be just like fertilizer for your microbiome and, given half a chance it will naturally work towards balance. Consuming an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of high fibre fruits and vegetables is a great place to start. Plus, introducing foods that have their own abundant live bacteria, such as fermented vegetables, homemade yogurt or kefir are proven to shift the balance to healthy very quickly.
For more gut-friendly recipes click on over to our Luvele Life recipe blog. Homemade yogurt is our speciality, so if you are keen to start eating food full of friendly bacteria, you have come to the right place to learn how.
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