Did you know that there are over one trillion microbes found in your body? While this might sound a little concerning, the reality is that most of these microbes contribute to the vast ecosystem found inside your gut.
Recent studies reveal that gut health from these microbes might play a much larger role in our health than previously thought. If you’re ready to learn about the importance of a healthy gut microbiome, then you’re in the right place.
In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about the topic, starting with what exactly it is. Let’s get started!
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome refers to the trillion different microbes that live in our intestines. These microbes consist of things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It’s helpful to think of your gut as a bustling city filled to the brim with people rushing to their jobs and appointments. This, in essence, is what a microbiome is.
But wait, aren’t microbes bad? Don’t we avoid things like bacteria and viruses? The answer is a little complicated. Yes, microbes can be bad when they get into parts of the body they aren’t wanted. They can also be bad if multiply uncontrollably. However, if they aren’t pathogen-related, then microbes can be quite beneficial to our health and bodily function.
For example, they help us break down sugar. However, of all the microbes found in your gut bacteria is by far the most present. There are more bacteria cells in you than human cells (that makes you more like a bacteria than it does a human!).
There are thousands of different types of bacteria found in your gut and they all play an important role in one way or another. Scientists consider them to be an extra organ in your body due to the role they play in your health. Let’s take a closer look at why this bacteria is important.
Why is Your Gut Microbiome Important?
As we will see, the gut microbiome affects multiple areas of your health. However, three areas in particular vitally rely on it for one reason or another. These areas include:
- Digesting food
- Controlling your immune system
- Helping your brain health
In terms of digestion, your gut microbiome is vital for digesting both breast milk and fiber. As such, we rely on the microbes in our body from day one. However, it’s also responsible for communication within the immune system.
When something’s off the bacteria in our microbiome signals our immune cells to react. This in turn allows our body to respond to any potential infection. Finally, new research also suggests that gut health is linked to our central nervous system.
This is because the gut is connected to the brain through millions of nerves. means that it plays a vital role in brain function and our everyday mental health.
However, these aren’t the only three areas that your gut microbiome that plays a crucial role. Here are some of the other ways that it can affect your health:
- Your gut microbiome can help you lose weight
- Your gut microbiome can produce chemicals that lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease
- Your gut microbiome can help control your blood sugar levels
How Do You Find Out the Status of Your Gut Microbiome?
Now that you know the role that your gut microbiome has on your health, you’re probably wondering how yours is doing. After all, if your microbiome is suffering, then you want to do everything in your power to improve it.
The good news is that there are a variety of testing methods you can use to find out. Generally, these tests target specific types of bacteria. So, if you suspect that you might have a deficiency, then you can use this to find out.
How Can You Improve Your Gut Microbiome?
There are a variety of scenarios where you might want to improve your gut microbiome. For example, let’s say you got tested and you found out that you have a deficiency in important bacteria.
Or, you might have taken antibiotics recently. This type of medicine, unfortunately, kills both good bacteria and bad bacteria. Regardless of the reason, there are ways that you can improve your gut microbiome.
First, try eating a diverse range of food. Your gut loves a mixed diet that contains a lot of fiber from things like beans, fruits, and legumes. In addition to these foods, you can also try adding probiotic food to your list.
These are fermented food that contains high amounts of good bacteria. You can find them in foods like kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut. If you don’t have time for probiotic foods, then you can try taking a probiotic supplement.
Just make sure that you trust the brand you’re using. And don’t forget about prebiotic foods. These are foods that stimulate the production of good bacteria in your own body. You can find them in things like bananas, apples, asparagus, oats, and artichokes.
If you can, then you should also try eating a vegetarian diet for some time. These plant-based diets contain none of the E. coli that’s found in many animal products. You should limit your intake of artificial sweeteners too.
Studies show that aspartame raises blood sugar levels and causes the growth of bad bacteria like Enterobacteriaceae.
Want More Content? Keep Exploring
We hope this article helped you learn more about your gut microbiome and how it contributes to your overall health. As you can see, your gut isn’t just linked to digestive health.
Evidence shows that it can affect everything from our mental health to weight gain. As such, it’s something that you should be prioritizing in terms of your health. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find more topics that you’re sure to enjoy.