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What a Healthy Microbiome Can Teach You

Learning about the microbiome world has been fascinating to me, especially when I realized that biodiversity, which is so vital for a healthy planet, is equally essential for a healthy body and mind.

The Human Microbiome Project began in 2007. It was a 10-year plan funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to study the microbial world that lives within and on our bodies (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses). The project was a consequence of the continuous upgrading of the electron microscope that allowed scientists to delve deeper and deeper into this new “universe” that was opening up before their eyes. During these past five years, there have been more than 50,000 published studies on the microbiome, making it the most researched area in health and nutrition. They observed that we have approximately 40 trillion microbial cells, which is more than the number of human cells in our body. In that sense, we are more germ cells than human cells.

In healthy individuals, pathogens rarely cause disease, especially with regard to chronic diseases. They simply coexist with their host (you and I) and the rest of the human microbiome, which is the collection of all microorganisms living in and on our bodies. Research also reveals that changes in the human microbiome are associated with disease, and a healthy body and a robust immune system depend on us having a mutual symbiotic relationship with our microbes.

Just as biodiversity in nature is necessary for a healthy planet, biodiversity within is required for a healthy you.

A healthy symbiotic relationship with our microbes occurs when:

  1. We feed the friendly bacteria with their favorite food…fiber (found only in plants).
  2. We avoid antibiotics and pharmaceutical drugs, except as a last option.
  3. We avoid highly processed foods, GMOs, food additives, and preservatives.
  4. We reduce the amount of stress in our lives.
  5. We incorporate daily healthy lifestyle practices (i.e., exercise, staying active, sufficient sleep, caring relationships, purpose).
  6. We eat whole organic plant foods as often as possible.
  7. We consume fewer animal products because, lacking in fiber, they feed the unfriendly bacteria that can lead to chronic diseases.

To your health,

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