Bacteria is Not All Bad.
The human microbiome represents a vast and intricate network of complex physiological processes. Often referred to as the body’s “second brain”, the gut plays an essential role in an incredibly large amount of biological activity.
Several conditions ranging from diabetes to Crohn’s disease can all be traced back in part to a disruption in gut microbiota (dysbiosis); however, where the real difficulty lies is in narrowing down the possibilities that continue to cause the gut bacteria to remain out of sync. When things become off balanced in this area of the body, it can be difficult to recover from without the proper steps being taken and with symptoms running rampant.
It is estimated that as many as 1000 different species of bacteria live in the human stomach. The extensive inner workings of these bacterial communities play a primary role in our metabolism, immune system health, and nutrition. A lack of information breeds misconception, and oftentimes leaves the importance of a healthy microbiome in the shadows – particularly when it comes to searching for answers to some of today’s most common ailments.
The Specificity of Microbiome DNA.
A common misconception lies in that humans share almost the same genes; the unique differences that separate us from our neighbors resides in the presence of a second set of DNA – that of our gut microbiome.
Highly processed foods, a massive growth in sugar intake, undiscovered food allergies, and countless other factors all contribute to the growing epidemic of unbalanced gut flora. Luckily, the resilience of the bacteria within the stomach is unprecedented, and under the right circumstances can quickly regain balance – allowing digestive health to get back on the path towards normalcy. It’s can be as simple as choosing your next meal with gut health at the forefront of the decision making process.
The complexity of the stomach microbiome in infants is highly underdeveloped, but the colonization process begins almost immediately following birth. Recently, growing rates of C-sections and formula feeding has been linked to a growth in a dysbiotic state amongst infants; exposure to bacteria through the birth canal and other external sources provide the first opportunities for the stomach to begin cultivating the wide range of bacteria that will ultimately host some of the body’s most essential physiologic processes.
Healing The Gut: It Starts With Your Next Meal.
Although the consequences of an imbalanced gut flora can cause a whole slew of issues for your health, it is relatively easy to begin the healing process. Most of the involved steps begin with simply changing your diet and consuming more health-conscious foods that simultaneously promote a healthy environment in which bacteria can thrive.
Replacing processed foods with more natural alternatives can lower inflammation in the gut and lay the groundwork for replenishing healthy bacteria. Other foods to actively avoid include:
- Processed sugars
- Refined carbohydrates
- Conventional meats high in antibiotics and low in omega-3 fatty acids
- Trans fats
On the other hand, there are endless foods that promote a healthy gut flora and can very quickly get you back on the path towards wellness:
- Colorful fruits and vegetables that are high in phytonutrients
- Foods high in naturally occurring probiotics like kefir, yogurt, and fermented vegetables
- Wild-caught fish, free-range meats, and other animal products that come from responsible sources
- Herbs that provide supplementary immune system support
Increasing awareness of the importance of gut health is a foundational step in improving overall quality of life. Many of today’s most common ailments can be significantly improved if not completely eliminated by implementing healthy practices that have the quality of the stomach at the forefront of your mind. Oftentimes, there’s no better place to start than your kitchen.
Hippocrates said it best – ”let food be thy medicine”.