Microbiome? Microwhat? Supporting your Digestive Tract!
Have you heard of 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, as well as producing 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 Wellbeing Wednesday tip I will discuss ways to support the microbiome. As you can see the gut really is the key to good health.
Maintain your microflora. If you don’t already, think about supplementing with a good quality probiotic. The health of our digestive systems, depend on billions of these healthy bacteria. These are the friendly bacteria that reside in our guts, and are key players in keeping an immune system strong. You can add a small amount to your food (usually ¼ tsp of powder) daily. Some brands to look out for are Seroyal, NFH or Metagenics.
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-section 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 (or 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 is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Doula and Acupuncturist. She practices in Toronto and can be reached at 416-371-3422. To learn more about Dr. Rachel take a peek at rachelschwartzman.com