What is the Gut Microbiome and How Do We Nourish It?
Our body is full of billions of bacteria and viruses. They are collectively known as the microbiome. Some bacteria are connected with disease, others are very important for our immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.
Our gut microbiome must be functioning in a healthy state for us to be healthy. When our gut bacteria is out of balance — when we have too much bad bacteria and not enough healthy bacteria, we often get sick. Here are a few ways that we can protect out gut microbiome.
Take antibiotics only when necessary: Antibiotics kill several bad and good bacteria in the gut microbiome, contributing to weight gain and resistance of antibiotics.
Eat high-fiber foods. Whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit all contain beneficial fiber that feed the good gut bacteria.
Eat healthy fats. Increase omega-3 fatty acids by eating cold-water wild salmon, hempseeds, flaxseeds, and even seaweed. Use more grass-fed or organic animal products.
Eat at least 8 to 10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, which contain disease fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory molecules.
Repopulate your digestive tract with good bacteria. Take very high-potency probiotics (look for at least 25 billion live CFU’s from various strains of Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces boulardii), all good bacteria for a couple of months.
Reduce stress. Stress affects our gut bacteria, more than most people know. Try a stress-reduction technique like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are all great ways to reduce stress.
Eat foods rich in polyphenols: Polyphenols are plant compounds found in amonds, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy good bacterial growth.