Improve Your Digestive System by Optimizing Your Microbiome #wellbeingwednesday

The Microbiome? The microwhat?  The “Human Microbiome” is a system of living cells that live on your skin and in your mouth, nose, throat, lungs, gut, and urogenital tract. There are 100 trillion (!!) microbes living in your body with majority inhabiting the digestive tract. The digestive system is responsible for more than digestion, it houses 70% of our immune system and it produces serotonin, a mood stabilizing hormone. There is a correlation with increased antibiotic use, and the depletion of the microbiome leading to frequent illnesses, asthma, allergies and eczema.

For today’s well-being Wednesday tip I am sharing with you ways to optimize your microbiome.

Maintain your microflora. The best thing you can do is take a good quality probiotic! The health of our digestive systems, depend on billions of these healthy bacteria. They are also key players in keeping our immune system strong. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want that!  You can add a small amount to your food (usually ¼ tsp of powder) daily. Look out for are Genestra’s HMF line and Bio K.

Healthy Diet: Our healthy bacteria want to feed off of good food. When they are fed well, they multiply on their own and our digestive systems like that. The key is fiber, so focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes and nuts/seeds.

Give fermented foods a try. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kefir and kombucha, all feed the healthy bacteria in the digestive system. Stir fry some tempeh, enjoy a warm bowl of miso soup or add sauerkraut to your sandwich. Your local health food store will carry these healthy food options.

Avoid GMO foods. With the rise in genetically modified foods, we have had a dramatic increase in the use of the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is used to spray major crops such as; corn, soy, and canola, and has been linked to many health concerns, one of them being the decline in bifidus, the healthy bacteria that colonizes the large intestine. The key to avoiding glysophyte is eating organic foods. If you are unsure where to start with organics, look at EWG’s site for their “dirty dozen” list.

Vaginal Delivery: With C-sections rates sitting at about 30%, we have 1/3 of our pediatric population not exposed to healthy bacteria by being birthed through a vaginal canal. Consider giving C-section babies (really all babies!) a probiotic supplement from birth to help foster their digestive bacteria.

Managing healthy bacteria in our digestive tracts really is the key to overall health. I hope you find these tips helpful, and if you are looking for more guidance see a Naturopathic Doctor in your area.

Rachel_Schwartzman_HSRACHEL SCHWARTZMAN is a naturopathic doctor in the St. Clair West neighbourhood. She is the co-owner of West End Naturopathic Doulas, a naturopathic collective that supports pregnant women and partners with the birth of their babies.

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