Have you heard of the microbiome? It's the community of bacteria that lives inside of each of us; trillions of bacteria inhabiting our skin, mouth, gut, nasal passages, lungs, and brain. Scientists have known about these bacteria for years, but only recently have they begun to realize the crucial role they play in our overall health.
6 amazing facts about your microbiome
1. There's a lot of bacteria inside each of us. In fact, the bacteria inside us outnumber our own cells by 9 to 1!
2. Crucial bodily functions depend on the microbiome. Our bodies and the microbiome work together in a symbiotic relationship with both of us benefitting. These friendly bacteria help us digest our food, regulate our metabolism, and produce essential vitamins. They're also crucial in matters of heart health, a strong immune system, and proper bone development. They even help keep us mentally sharp and produce natural antibiotics to help keep us healthy!
3. Not all bacteria are enemies. Besides helping with basic bodily functions, the bacteria in our microbiome can help heal us. Headaches, depression, eczema, colds, and muscle pain are just some of the symptoms with which our microbiome can help. They can also help restore our gut health - essential to the proper nutrition that feeds our microbiome and us.
4. Good bacteria can affect far more than your gut. Hosting a wide variety of good bacteria can help crowd out the bad bacteria that are responsible for inflammation and sugar cravings. In fact, research studies show that a well-balanced microbiome can boost our metabolism and help us lose weight. There's another benefit to a well-balanced microbiome: our brains use neurotransmitters, a form of biochemical, to process emotions and thought. A healthy microbiome can help prevent depression, anxiety, and memory problems.
5. Stress is dangerous to our microbiome. A single stressful day can totally unbalance our microbiome. Since a bacterium's life span is only about twenty minutes, 24 hours represents approximately 75 generations. Stress can kill off the good bacteria and allow bad bacteria to proliferate, thereby upsetting the balance of the microbiome. When we're under stress, it's particularly important to support our microbiome with a healthy diet. Including probiotics and prebiotics in that diet can help quickly restore the balance of our microbiome.
6. Prebiotics and probiotics can help. Probiotics are live bacteria that support the bacteria in our microbiome; yoghurt with active cultures is a prime example of a food containing probiotics. Other fermented or cultured foods that contain probiotics include , sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and kombucha. Look for products labeled as containing live cultures. For an easier way to ensure that you're getting enough probiotics, take a daily probiotic supplement.
Prebiotics are the diet upon which probiotics thrive. If probiotics are new seeds in a farmer’s field, the terrain preparing prebiotic weeds, waters and fertilizes the soil beforehand. As Dr. Raphael Kellman explains: "They include asparagus, carrots, garlic, jicama, leeks, okra, onion, radishes, and tomatoes, as well as ... turmeric and cinnamon." In order to ensure our essential probiotics are well-fed, it's advisable to take a supplement that will provide all the nutrition they need.