Turns out you’re stomach’s a garden. You feed it, curate it, reap the fruits, all the while not having any awareness that it's even happening. The plants? Bacteria.
Inside of you there are TRILLIONS of living microbes. That’s 12 zeroes. To them, you are the world, and they have not nor will ever know anything but you. The average person harbors about 39 trillion microbial cells. To put this in perspective, the cells that make up your whole body only number about 30 trillion. Yes, numbers wise you’re made up more by bacteria than your own cells.
Now let’s not get too outta pocket here - they’re really little and only make up about 1-3% of your mass. But in terms of how you process & absorb foods they are so crucial, and we’re continuing to find out more & more how they influence us - even up to our mood and mental health. Some studies are even finding that a healthy microbiome can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
So how do we help out our little friends? Here are 7 ways to give them some assistance:
- Fermented Foods Are Superheroes: Growing up whenever my Dad saw a Kiwanis cart he’d make a beeline to order up a kielbasa with sauerkraut. I made fun of him for years about it. Turns out he was sending down little aid packs to his microbiome! Foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi are like VIPs in your gut, promoting diversity and calming inflammation.
- The Fiber Sidekick: Fiber might not be the star of the show, but it's the trusty sidekick. It helps break down the tough stuff and keeps your gut microbes fed. Fill up on those greens, beans, and whole grains to keep the good vibes going.
- Dynamic Duo - Prebiotics and Probiotics: Think of prebiotics as the nourishing soil and probiotics as the seeds of your gut garden. But remember, too much can lead to brain fog, so find that sweet spot.
- Sleep - Your Gut’s Recharge Time: Just like you, your gut needs its beauty sleep. Proper rest means less stress for your gut, helping maintain that gut-brain axis harmony.
- Processed Foods - The Party Crashers: Those emulsifiers and additives in processed foods? They're like uninvited guests messing with your gut party, and all they wanna do is turn on Limp Bizkit and break stuff. Stick to whole, natural foods to keep the good times rolling.
- Choose Your Sweeteners Wisely: Our gut microbiome is still figuring out how to handle artificial sweeteners. So, when you can, pick natural sweeteners to keep things straightforward.
- Get Down and Dirty: In our quest to be squeaky clean, we sometimes wash away the good bugs too. We were made to live in a world of microbes, it's a natural way to introduce beneficial microbes. So go ahead, get a little messy!
By nurturing our gut microbiome, we’re doing more than just aiding how we break down our breakfast; we’re supporting our mental health, immunity, and so much more. It’s about the little things we do every day that make the biggest difference.