Do you know that you have more microbes living on and in your body than you have human cells? This alternate universe resides on our skin, eyes, nasal passages and gut; in fact, of the 100 trillion cells in our body, 90 % of them are microbial. Makes you want to wash your hands, doesn’t it?
While we typically think of microorganisms as harmful (like salmonella or e. coli), a vast number living in us are normal, useful and NECESSARY for good health. It’s the gut bacteria, or microbiome, that interests nutritionists most. The National Institutes of Health is currently studying this complex field.
Food & Nutrition Magazine reports these microscopic organisms together might be thought of as another of the body’s organs and, “As a result, the microbiome’s role in conditions as varied as irritable bowel diseases, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, depression, autoimmune disorders and Parkinson’s disease is under intense scientific scrutiny.”
While more is unknown than known on the subject today, one hypothesis linking these varied conditions is the inflammatory process. But, we can guess healthy gut bacteria seems to help build a healthy immune system and hence a healthy body.
So, what influences your personal colony? It begins with how you came into the world (vaginal birth or C-section), if you were breast fed, your environment, people with whom you live, antibiotic use and, of course, your diet.
It probably won’t be surprising to know that fruits, vegetables and possibly whole grains contributes to a healthy gut. Will expand on this in another Minute, but in the meantime, go grab some berries to be well,
PS I’ll probably won’t be mentioning fecal transplants in the upcoming Minute. Too….for even me to explain!