Building a Healthy Microbiome

Human Microbiome

Your microbiome is the community of microorganisms living in your body. For every human cell, we have 10 bacterial cells, meaning we are made up of 90% bacteria! We have more bacterial DNA than human DNA. There are also organisms like archaea, yeast, fungi, viruses, and other micro-organisms that can live symbiotically (in harmony) with us or cause illnesses if imbalanced. Research continues to emerge on the link between our microbiome community and conditions such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, asthma, arthritis, mood disorders, certain cancers and more.

Researchers are finding that healthier habits can help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines and ultimately prevent disease. Here are some tips to maintain your community of microorganisms:

1. You are what your microbiome eats. Feed the good bacteria high quality foods

to keep them happy and working for you. For example, fruits, vegetables, whole

grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are pre-biotics, which stimulate the growth of

beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics give good bacteria the fiber and nutrients they need to survive while giving us the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other substances we need to digest properly. Note: Monitor how your digestion reacts to high fiber foods, as everyone responds differently. While high fiber pre-biotics are healthy for most people, they can also aggravate gastrointestinal upset in people with IBS, celiac, chron’s, SIBO, or other digestive illnesses.

2. Limit packaged food products with refined grains, sweets, and artificial

sweeteners. Heavily processed foods don’t give good bacteria food to break down. They may also stimulate the growth of less desirable bacteria and could negatively impact the microbiome.

3. Choose USDA certified organic or locally grown foods whenever possible,

especially when eating meat and dairy, as these can contain antibiotics, artificial

growth hormones, and pesticides that may inhibit the growth of probiotics.

4. Only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary- they kill bad bacteria, but

also kill the good ones. If you need to take antibiotics, make sure to simultaneously eat fermented foods and take a good probiotic supplement to replenish the good bacteria.

5. Eat fermented foods daily! They contain a diversity of live beneficial communities of

microorganisms that work in concert to keep you healthy. They also happen to be