What Is Gut Microbiome and How Does It Affect Your Body?
The microbiome is the collection of trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi housed by your body. They play a crucial part in keeping you healthy, including having all aspects of your health like weight, immune system, and heart in check.
Some people associate all bacteria with diseases, but that is not always the case. Human bodies have good bacteria that help maintain the balance within your body.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the microbiome, what they do, and how they affect your body.
Understanding the Gut Microbiome
The bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic living things housed by your body are microorganisms or microbes. These microbes, which amount to trillions, primarily live on your skin and within your intestines. The microbes in your intestine exist in a pocket of your large intestine called the cecum. Together, they are called the gut microbiome.
Among all these different microbes, bacteria are the most prominent. Your gut microbiome can weigh as much as two to five pounds, almost the weight of a human brain. All these microbes, when together, work as an extra organ in your body that plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy.
How Does the Gut Microbiome Affect Your Body?
The human body has evolved to house microbes for millions of years that without the gut microbiome, humans would have difficulty surviving. It affects your body as soon as you are born, but some studies show that babies are already exposed to microbes inside the womb.
The gut microbiome diversifies as you grow, and a more diversified species means you are healthier. In addition, the food you eat also plays a massive role in diversifying your gut microbiome.
Microbes affect your body in numerous ways:
- Bacteria in babies’ intestines help digest the healthy sugars in breast milk for growth.
- Bacteria digest fiber to release short-chain fatty acids for gut health. Fiber also plays a role against weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- The gut microbiome controls your body’s response to an infection by communicating with immune cells.
- The gut microbiome affects the central nervous system, which controls brain function.
In summary, your gut microbiome is a crucial part of keeping you alive. It also impacts your key bodily functions and influences your health.
How To Improve Gut Microbiome
To further diversify your gut microbiome for optimal health, here are some actions you can take:
- Eat a diverse food set for gut health, but always include beans, legumes, and fiber-rich vegetables and fruits.
- Eat fermented food like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir, which all contain healthy bacteria.
- Eat whole grains and prebiotic food like bananas, oats, and apples.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners that can increase blood sugar by stimulating unhealthy bacteria in the gut microbiome.
- Breastfeed babies for at least six months to develop their gut microbiome.
- Take antibiotics only when medically necessary since they kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome is a critical factor to having optimal health. It aids in digestion and keeping your immune system in check, aside from its other duties. Moreover, imbalanced good and bad microbes in the gut microbiome can lead to high blood sugar, weight gain, high cholesterol, and other diseases. So help your gut microbiome protect you by eating fruits, vegetables, fermented food, and whole grains.
At Balanced Body Functional Medicine in Houston, we provide personalized health care with a holistic approach. Our functional or integrative medicine includes bio-identical hormone replacement, intestinal health recovery, micronutrient testing, and IV nutritional therapy.
We are committed to helping clients get the balanced body nutrition they need. Get in touch with us today!