The microbiome (bacteria in our body) is very complicated, and more and more is being discovered every day. I went to a lecture day recently on the microbiome to learn more about what’s being discovered and it’s simply amazing! The bacteria in the gut is dominant in terms of mass it occupies and the number that there are, but, the fungi in the gut, that’s right, fungi, which are tiny in number in comparison play a HUGE role in health. And it’s only just being researched, so watch this space…. (In this post I’ll talk about bacteria encompassing fungi as well).
Did you know that the gut bacteria actually begins in the mouth? So oral hygiene and not destroying all the bacteria in the mouth with mouthwash is important. This also means that the microbiome runs throughout the body, so looking after it is key for health. It can be a hard balance to achieve because when you destroy the ‘bad’ bacteria with things like mouthwash, anti-biotics, not eating pre and probiotic foods, eating a limited diet, not eating enough fibre and too much booze you also destroy the ‘good’ and things can get out of balance. The reason it’s ‘bad’ and ‘good’ bacteria is because we need both and have both in us (for example candida). It’s when the balance becomes uneven with the ‘bad’ dominating that problems can begin.
I also learnt at the lecture day that the bladder and uterus aren’t sterile environments and also have bacteria in them, and because of close proximity, the bacteria in each place can influence each other. Knowing this could really change how things like urinary tract infections and female infertility are treated.
There is so much we can do with our diet, before buying probiotics to support the bacteria living in us by not eating loads of sugar as that feeds the ‘bad’ bacteria causing overgrowth, and by eating lots of pre and probiotics. Prebiotics help get the environment right in the digestive system for the bacteria to be happy and healthy and probiotics feed the bacteria.
Below is a list so you can increase them in your diet
Prebiotics include (ideally raw):
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Dandelion leaves
- 100% cocoa
- Flax Seeds
- Wheat bran
Probiotics really should be raw because if they are pasteurised it means they have been heating and the bacteria will be killed off. Yoghurt is a bit different as it’s not legal to sell raw yoghurt commercially, so probiotics are normally added in after the heating process. If you make your own, or have a local farmer selling raw yoghurt then they will be full of their natural bacteria. This is a list of foods that are probiotic:
- (full fat) yoghurt
As always, buy as organically as possible to reduce the number of pesticides and fungicides in your body that damage the bacteria in us. It’s also much better for the planet too! If you need some help and support with your digestive system, click here to arrange a consultation.