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Future Health

Take Care of Your Microbiota

July 11, 2016 

The human microbiome – which collectively describes the community of mutualistic and pathogenic microorganisms in and on our bodies – has been an important topic of research to understand health and disease.

Our everyday behaviors can influence how the microbes in our bodies work in harmony with our cells. When the microorganisms are in balance, we experience a host of benefits. When the microbes change in diversity or composition because of such factors as our diet or stress levels, we are more likely to experience problems including disease.

The microorganisms in our bodies outnumber our cells by approximately 10 to 1, and are important for many of our bodily functions. To name a few, the human microbiome is thought to play a role specifically in autoimmune diseases, and an imbalance of species of microbiotic cells can lead to health problems such as obesity, depression and bipolar disorders.

Many of us have probably heard about the gut flora which is made up of the microbes in our digestive tract. The gut flora is mostly developed by age two and is responsible for fermentation of dietary fiber into energy that can be used by our bodies. The bacteria in our intestines also helps synthesize certain vitamins such as B (energy production) and K (blood clotting).

One factor that leads to a healthy microflora is our food choices. A healthy and balanced diet can optimize the environment for better digestive health.

In addition to food, stress influences the balance among microbes as well as between microbes and human cells. 

Here is a short list of things you can do to optimize the environment for good bacteria in your intestines.

  • Limit your use of antibiotics, and use them only when absolutely necessary
  • Spend time outside
  • Avoid antibacterial soaps
  • Learn stress management techniques
  • Choose fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and pickles
  • Consider taking a pro-biotic supplement

Taking care of our immune and digestive health is a lifelong process, and now is considered to be as important as diet and exercise. We recommend you make it part of your daily routine.