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How your Microbiome Impacts Your Overall Health

Did you know there are trillions of living microorganisms in your body, mainly in your gut?

From the day you were brought to life, through birth, breastfeeding, and exposure to the outside world, you began building the microorganism ecosystem that now resides in your gut. Research shows that these microbes, aka microbiome, can affect a lot of how you experience your daily life; emotions, brain functioning, performance, weight, and even your food choices. Let’s dive deep into how you can improve your gut health and live a better life!

What exactly is the “Gut Microbiome”?

The microbiome is a community of trillions of living organisms in your gut. It consists of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that live symbiotically in a healthy person. Your microbiome starts from birth, depending mostly on your mother’s gut health and breast milk. Things that affect your microbiome include environment, medications like antibiotics, stress, sleep, inactivity, and diet. If your microbe population is low, you become more vulnerable to chronic diseases such as leaky gut, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.

The bacteria in your gut break down the food your body can’t digest and they also absorb essential nutrients, boost the immune system, improve your mood and well-being, and protect you against harmful germs. In some studies, microbiomes of healthy mice were transplanted into stressed mice. The stressed mice then showed fewer anxiety symptoms. A healthy microbiota can help you manage your emotions more effectively, thus improving the quality of your life.

Interestingly, you got your first dose of microbes at birth when you traveled through the birth canal (if that was how you were born), which is chock-full of bacteria, then picked up more while breastfeeding. So, be grateful if you were exposed to these living organisms as a baby. Some evidence suggests that births by Cesarean section may impact a baby’s immune system, causing food allergies, asthma, and other diseases in the early years. The seeds of your microbiome are determined by your mother, but it is the food that you eat that can change it.

Now that you have an understanding of what a microbiome is and how it impacts your health, we can jump into how you can create a vigorous and diverse microbiome.

The keys to creating a healthy microbiome

Bacteria feed on fiber and polyphenols, and when you don’t feed them, they die, and you get sick or vulnerable to disease.