Get the Good Guys into your Gut …
Author: Jan Roberts
As you can see, we’ve given our website a fabulous makeover! To celebrate, in my next few posts I’ll be giving you some simple do-it-yourself steps for your own personal makeover. I’m a big fan of easy health-promotion steps you can incorporate into your daily routine without any fuss or bother, but these steps will have a genuine, long-term impact on your wellbeing. So listen up and get on board with my suggestions! I promise you they’re easy to implement … and they’ll have an impact on every aspect of your physical and mental health (and surprise, surprise – boost your sexual performance too!)
Let’s start with the very foundation of your health: your microbiome, all of those small creatures (mostly bacteria) that co-exist with you in your body, and do the hard work to keep you healthy and well. This is an area that has long been recognized by complementary medicine practitioners as the seat of your wellbeing. But it’s only in the last twenty years or so that Western medicine has begun to research and understand the importance of the human microbiome.
It’s an astounding fact. There is at least as much (some researchers suggest maybe 10 times more) DNA in your body that was not provided to you genetically by your mother and father. That’s an astounding amount of genetic material that co-exists with, yet is entirely separate from, your own genes! Martin Blaser, Head of The Human Microbiome Project at New York University explains that while our own human cells number 10 trillion, the cells of the bacteria with which we co-exist could number an astonishing 100 trillion. Further, for hundreds of thousands of years bacterial and human cells have existed in peaceful symbiosis. This symbiotic relationship contributes to the equilibrium and health of our bodies.
Consider our modern era of medicine and surgery, which has introduced the use of ever more powerful and frequent antibiotics, reliance on Caesarean sections, and also the use of powerful antiseptics and antibacterials. All these practices have resulted in a significant loss of diversity in our miraculous bacterial ecosystem. In fact, it is estimated that we have lost about 30 percent of the diversity that constituted at least half (if not more) of our ‘super-organism’.
Research clearly shows that the relationship between the microbiome and humans is not just a random co-existence, but is in fact a mutually beneficial, synergistic relationship. Think about it—all those cells and all that DNA would certainly be doing more than seeing to the digestion of your food. While the microbiome inhabits all the organisms on your skin (your mouth and nose and all those other orifices), it’s the bacterial population in your gut that I want to talk about today
Gut ‘dysbiosis’—microbial imbalance—can begin at the very beginning of life (for those delivered by C-section). It is then compounded through the years with antibiotic use, artificial hormones (for example, hormonal birth control or Hormone Replacement Therapy, HRT), chlorine and other chemicals in the drinking water, the Western diet full of refined foodstuffs, agricultural chemicals used in food production, and so much more. The result of this onslaught is that the health of your gut bacteria is well below par. This compromises the integrity of your entire gastrointestinal tract and all of its functions: the digestion of your food, the synthesis of vitamins in the gut, your immune function, hormone formation, neurotransmitter (brain chemical) production, energy metabolism (which controls your weight) and so on
That’s the bad news. So what to do?? Start with probiotics to give your gut a boost. But with so many probiotic products to choose from, you need to be sure that the product is stable, sufficiently potent and contains an appropriate mixture of strains to ensure results. A daily dose of a commercial yogurt or a cheap and cheerful probiotic off the supermarket shelf just won’t cut it. Bodcare is not in the business of selling probiotics (yet) but we’re happy to make a recommendation. (Just get in touch here.)
I also strongly recommend adding fermented foods or drinks to your daily dietary intake. Get five different sorts of fermented foods (kimchi, pickled beets, pickled cabbage, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, etc.) and eat a daily serving of each on a rotating basis. This simple dietary change will increase the bio-diversity of your gut bacteria. The more diversity, the healthier your microbiome
As I said at the start, it’s a simple equation. The more you help your gut microbiome, the more you help set the scene for better physical and mental health. You will also ensure that you get maximum benefit from my next health-promotion tips.