You are what you EAT - 18 Sep 2018
You are what you eat…
Have you heard of this saying? Of course, it is partly true, but really if we look a bit deeper, the saying should say:
You are what you ABSORB…
This is referring to the bacteria that we have inside our gut. We need a balance of all of our good bacteria to ensure a properly functioning gut and ensure adequate health.
As humans, we begin to build our microbiome the moment we are born. How and where we’re born play a big role in the types of microbes we acquire. Babies pick up microbes from every person or thing they touch, and continue to pick up microbes throughout their lives. The microbiome isn’t fixed; it develops over time and changes in response to its environment.
What Does the Microbiome Do?
Until recently, bacteria in the gut were thought to play a role only in regulating bowel movements. However, it is now known that gut bacteria affect the entire body, including the BRAIN.
If we have enough beneficial flora in the gut then we can..
- Synthesize some vitamins
- Help with digestion
- Balance mood
- Reduce anxiety
- Protect against infections and some forms of cancer
Strains of good bacteria in the gut are also associated with lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and various gastrointestinal diseases.
If there are TOO MANY bad bacteria or TOO FEW good bacteria in the microbiome, serious health problems can arise. Although, these health conditions usually take decades to develop.
The population of good bacteria in your body can be inhibited or killed by:
- Unhealthy eating habits
Antibiotic use can kill bad bacteria that cause disease, BUT they also kill off many of the beneficial microbes. We can keep our microbiomes healthy by eating foods that feed the good bacteria, and avoiding foods that encourage the growth of bad bacteria.
How do we know what bacteria we have in our gut microbiome?