As more research becomes available, it is becoming clear that modern life destroys gut microbiome, contributing to a variety of health issues in the process.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is the term used to refer to the ecosystem of living things that exist in the large intestine and throughout your gut. This microbiome is home to trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Today’s dietary preferences and modern life destroys gut microbiome, leading to a myriad of problems. The promising news is that there are steps that you can take today to encourage and support a healthy balance of bacteria throughout your digestive tract.
Why it is Important to Maintain a Healthy Gut Microbiome
The bacteria in our bodies play an integral role in the functioning of the gut. While many people think that a well-oiled gut microbiome is there to just break down food, this system is also responsible for a host of other bodily functions. In fact, many physicians will start to explore the health of your gut as a first step in isolating, diagnosing and treating a wide variety of concerns.
Gut health has a significant effect on the function of your immune system, digestive activity, sleep patterns and more. By taking steps to boost the function of your gut microbiome, you can improve your overall health and well-being. This includes your physical health as well as your emotional and mental health.
How Modern Life Destroys Gut Microbiome
In recent years, scientists have begun to discover how modern life destroys gut microbiome. A 2009 study demonstrated how increased consumption of processed foods is a major contributing factor to a weakened microbiome. This includes eating too much conventionally raised meats.
In addition, the overuse of antibiotics is also a significant reason why people may be having issues with their gut. Numerous studies have shed light on the fact that children who take too many antibiotics early in life are at a greater risk of developing celiac disease, obesity, asthma and more. Other factors that reduce the ability of the body to harbor healthy bacteria include the overuse of pesticides and reliance on antimicrobial products.
Doctors also point out that a proclivity in recent times to more cesarean births could potentially minimize the number of healthy microbes that a newborn brings into their system as they pass through the birth canal. Without this passage, the baby is not likely to receive as many as these healthy bacteria, negatively affecting the gut microbiome.
Steps to Take to Encourage a Healthy Gut Microbiome
It is important to understand that the gut microbiome is a fluid entity. Everyone has an individual gut microbiome profile unique to their body and lifestyle. The makeup of your gut microbiome changes over time. It is also possible to take steps to influence the microbiome so that it is functioning at optimal levels. Here are just a few ways that you can encourage a healthy gut microbiome for better health.
Choose the Right Foods
What you eat has a profound effect on the health of your gut microbiome. Choosing foods that are high in fiber should be your first step in improving this system. It is also a good idea to incorporate fermented foods, such as kefir and yogurt, into your diet on a regular basis. Eating prebiotic foods, including bananas, oats and apples, will also promote the development of healthy bacteria in the gut. In the end, you want to choose a varied diet that is rich in whole grains, polyphenols and vegetables if supporting a healthy microbiome is important to you.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics deliver living and helpful bacteria into your gut. Taking a supplement that provides probiotics can go a long way towards maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
If you are considering having children, you can promote a healthy gut microbiome by breastfeeding your new infant. Research has shown that babies who are breastfed for a period of at least six months build up greater amounts of the beneficial Bifidobacteria compared to infants that are bottle-fed.
Avoid Temptation to Over-sanitize
It is important to keep in mind that the presence of bad bacteria helps to train your body to recognize what is a true danger. The overuse of sanitizing products deprives the immune system of the chance to react appropriately. Over-sanitizing can possibly lead to bacteria resistance and contribute to the development of superbugs. While you should wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom, it is better to resist the temptation to over-sanitize.
Limit Use of Antibiotics
In addition to limiting your use of sanitizing products, you should also be wary of leaning on antibiotics too much. Antibiotics are not able to discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria, killing the productive bacteria in the process. This is why many physicians recommend taking a probiotic supplement when on antibiotics.
Understanding how your lifestyle may be negatively impacting your gut microbiome and what you can do to keep it in proper alignment will encourage good overall health across a multitude of body functions.