Did you know that you have more bacterial cells in your body than human cells?
In fact, these microbes (aka our gut bugs) outnumber our host cells by about 10 to 1!
These microbes are vital when it comes to our overall health. In fact, the evidence suggesting the microbiome plays one of the most important roles in the development of various diseases is not hard to come by.
Your microbiome is largely forged at birth and is affected by your mode of birth, whether you were breastfed, and the state of your mum’s gut health during pregnancy.
But don’t worry if those three things didn’t work in your favour. There are some things you can do to right the balance in your gut starting today.
In this video, we want to let you in on the top five things you can do to rebuild and strengthen your gut so you can stand strong in the face of a bacterial, viral or toxic threat.
Transcript: 5 Ways to Fortify your Gut Bugs
Never before have we been so concerned about bugs, germs and taking measures to protect ourselves as we are today.
We wash our hands constantly.
We use antibacterial gel all the time.
We use chemicals in our houses and workplaces like there’s no tomorrow.
But the irony is, while some bugs are bad, some bugs are absolutely essential for our wellbeing. And the bugs that I’m talking about are the ones located in our gastrointestinal system, in what we call the gut microbiome.
These microbes (aka our gut bugs) outnumber our host cells by about 10 to 1. So we really have a lot more bacterial cells in our bodies than our own cells!
The state of our gut microbiome plays a significant role in the development of various diseases. The more varied good bacteria we have and the less we have of the bad ones, the healthier our gut and the healthier overall we are going to be.
This isn’t just the conclusion from one study. The research is, in fact, overwhelming.
It’s also not new information.
2 millennia ago, the famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, said that “all disease begins in the gut.” But research has only just started catching up.
The old understanding had us relate to the gut microbiome as simply another separate body system. We now know however, that the microbiome is intimately connected with pretty much every other system in our body, including our immune system, nervous system and even our reproductive system!
Now having a healthy gut microbiome all starts in the womb. Did you know that your microbiome was forged largely on the foundation of your mother’s gut health throughout pregnancy? It was also largely affected by method of birth, whether it was a vaginal delivery or a C-section. If you were born naturally, your gut flora is a lot healthier than if you were a C-section baby.
Plus, the amniotic fluid from the placenta as well as breast milk, were other means your mother’s beneficial bugs were transferred to you.
Now I know you’re thinking, “Well there’s not much I can do about the way I entered this world,” and you’re absolutely right! But there are some things you can do to right the balance in your gut that your doctor won’t tell you and this is what I wanted to share with you today.
Number one: avoid things that disrupt the balance of bugs in your gut.
This includes things like sugar, alcohol, food additives and preservatives.
Antibiotics is another major gut disruptor. Did you know that the average Aussie kid is prescribed antibiotics 10-20 times by the age of 18?!
That’s going to do some serious damage to their gut ecosystem. Antibiotics can also be found in conventional meat so there’s a good reason to go more plant-based.
Environmental toxins such as pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals can also disrupt our gut as can the oral contraceptive pill and certain medications such as proton pump inhibitors for reflux.
Number two: Consume probiotic-rich foods or take a probiotic supplement
Adding fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, miso, and kombucha is a great way to enhance your gut microbiome. You can also take a probiotic supplement with strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium which are two of the most important families of bacteria which help to positively affect the balance in your gut.
You need to be careful though that you choose a good quality probiotic.
Number three: Eat foods rich in prebiotics and resistant starch
We’ve just talked about the importance of probiotics but probiotics need prebiotics as their source of fuel. Have you ever been on a road trip and run out of gas? It’s like that. Like you can’t run a car on an empty tank of fuel, you can’t expect your gut bacteria to function without the prebiotic fibers to feed on.
When you feed your gut microbes prebiotic fibers, they produce these things called short-chain fatty acids which promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and do so much more for your health but that’s a topic for another time.
Prebiotics occur naturally in many plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Prebiotic-rich foods include artichokes, onion, garlic, kiwi, legumes, asparagus and leek. Great sources of resistant starch include unripe bananas, potatoes, nuts and legumes such as chickpeas and red kidney beans.
Number four: Spend time in nature
Who loves a good hike? Well did you know that spending time in unspoiled natural spaces is one of the best ways to expose yourself to a rich diversity of probiotics? Getting outside also reduces stress levels and shifts the nervous system into the parasympathetic, rest-and-digest state which is where your microbiome wants you to be in order to thrive.
Lucky number five: Grow your own food
Growing your own food will make your good bugs jump for joy! Traditionally, the gut microbiome was steadily fortified by living on microbes on the fruit and vegetables that we eat. Today, many of our foods are irradiated, a process which destroys microorganisms in order to improve shelf life. You can treat your gut to fresh foods with all of the microbes, not to mention nutrients, intact by growing your own food. If you’re not sure where to start, there are many Youtube tutorials on how to become a green thumb.
So I’ve shared with you five super important steps you can take starting today to build a healthier gut microbiome.
Before I go, I want to share with you one more thing that research has discovered in recent years. You see, research has discovered that a healthy microbiome doesn’t just affect our physical health, but it also affects our mental health too.
In this video here, I want to show you how you can really optimize your mental health by addressing your gut health through what you put in your mouth. And I’m not talking about pills. I’m talking about the stuff that gives us nutrients for our bodies to make neurotransmitters and other chemicals which support our mental health, aka food. So if you really want to see progress in both your physical and mental health, check out this video here.