Your Diet’s effect on Your Microbiome
Your microbiome plays an important role in determining the health and wellness of your body. This is why it is so important to understand your diet's effect on your microbiome. When you look in the mirror in the morning, what you see staring back at you is not what you think. Due to the fact that we perceive the reality around us through a very limited lens, namely our eyes, what we see does not reflect the true nature of reality.... not even close!
If our eyes were strong enough to see the truth, what we would see staring back at us, would be the 37 trillion individual human cells and an additional 38 Trillion bacteria. We are actually more bacteria than human, and it is the creatures of that microscopic world known as our Microbiome that dictate the proper functioning of our body. Let that sink in for a moment.
How does your microbiome determine your health?
The human body is literally teeming with bacteria. Both on the surface of our skin as well as our internal body. The vast majority of these little guys are beneficial to our existence and are actually necessary for us to live.
In recent years scientists have discussed reclassifying the human species as a “superorganism” due to the fact that we are actually made of many lifeforms that are not human and cannot function without them.
The moment we leave our mother's womb, the development of our microbiome begins. The bacteria that regulate her small intestine called Lactobacillus also rules over the health of her vagina. One more reason why the food mom eats during pregnancy is so crucial to the health of the fetus.
Yes, the food provides the building blocks to create a new life, but it is the bacteria she eats along with it that has a huge impact on the health and development of the baby. That being the case, as the baby moves through the birth canal, it is coated with millions of bacteria from mom.
Recently it has been noted that children born via c-section have a 33% high rate of autism. Leading research is looking at the fact that babies born via C-section receive only skin bacteria from the mother vs the important vaginal complement.
As we grow and change, our internal bacterial colonies grow and change as well. We slowly develop three or four interacting microbiomes. The skin, the small intestine, the large intestine and the vagina (if you have one).
These immense networks of life forms affect a multitude of biological functions including the health and function of your eyelashes, skin, teeth, digestion, elimination, menstruation as well as mental health.
In today's modern world of overly cleaned and disinfected surfaces, children are not being exposed to the same beneficial bacteria as they once were and that's a problem. It's a strange thought, but children need to get dirty to be healthy!
Studies have shown that children who play outside with their bare feet in the grass and their fingers in the dirt, develop healthier colonies of beneficial bacteria than those raised in antiseptic, sterol indoors conditions. Try to conceptualize this for a moment, there is more bacterial life in one square foot of dirt than animals in the Amazon rainforest!
What roles do bacteria actually play?
Now, not all bacteria live happy little symbiotic lives while they run around on their happy little planet called ... you! There are many opportunistic bacteria that can become pathogenic given the chance. Bacteria such as E.coli, C Difficile, Staphylococcus, and H. Pylori to name a few.
Thankfully in 1928, modern medicine came up with medications called antibiotics to deal with the problem. But like so many things in life, the solution over time can become a new problem.
Unfortunately for us, over the last 90 years, the rampant pre-scripted use of antibiotics for conditions other than bacterial infections has become the norm. All those antibiotics ingested are doing a real number on the bad and good macrobiotic life inside us.
Certain pathogenic bacteria are getting stronger and we are getting sicker! Once again, the food we eat becomes of massive importance to the health of our very own “Gut Universe''. However, once again a solution to a problem is becoming one in itself.
From 1974 to 2014 there has been a 250 fold increase in the spraying of a chemical called Glyphosate on the food we grow. Glyphosate has several registered patents including one as a “biocide” otherwise known as an “antibiotic”.
Now, to be issued as a patent you must prove that the chemical does what it says it does. Thankfully for the same company that brought us “Agent Orange”, glyphosate does a great job at killing off bacterial life, but not so great for the rest of us.
This antibiotic has been used as a weed killer in North America for decades now. It was originally used on wheat, corn and in particular soy. So much so that that same company who created the antibiotic, patented a genetically modified soya bean seed that would stand up to it. That same company now has a complete stranglehold on the soya market.
But it hasn’t stopped there. Due to the massive amount of commercial weed spraying that is done, glyphosate has worked its way into virtually every piece of food grown on the continent. Grains and cereals, ...full of it! Fruit and veggies, ...full of it!
Even beer and wine have tested positive for the weed killer. Recently a study was conducted on wines from the famous Napa Valley and almost every single bottle tested positive. It’s even been found in the rainwater over North America.
Of course don’t forget that we feed our commercially raised animals such as cows, pigs and chickens, wheat, corn and soy to fatten them up so of course their meat, milk and eggs are filled with it as well.
So what are all these antibiotics doing to us? If we look at our digestive microbiome, there are literally trillions of bacteria living within us. They allow for the absorption of nutrients, the production of certain vitamins and hormones and the breakdown of the waste.
But as with all self-regulating systems, balance is the key. It is necessary to have a slightly stronger complement of the beneficial bacteria to keep the pathogenic guys in check. Unfortunately it's the good bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria that are more readily killed off by the intake of antibiotics than the bad bacteria that mess up the works.
As the bad bacteria take over the show all sorts of illnesses and dysfunction creep in. The vast majority of our chronic inflammatory illness in the body is a result of chronic digestive system inflammation caused by a bacterial imbalance.
This process is now being called “Leaky Gut”. You may think this means that good stuff is leaking out of you, but on the contrary, it means that bad stuff is leaking in.
Your digestive tract is made up of billions of cells pushed tightly together. These “tight junctions” control the permeability of your intestines. For the body to be healthy it is important that only certain things get absorbed at a certain speed and amount.
Those cell walls are then lined with a mucosal lining that protects them. Now, when bacteria are out of balance, the protective lining gets eaten away and the tight junctions become inflamed. This all leads to unregulated movement across the intestinal tract into the bloodstream.
Digestive conditions such as Crohn's, colitis, IBS, constipation and diarrhea all result from this breakdown. However, because of the full-body inflammatory cascade that results from digestive inflammation, conditions such as arthritis, eczema, heart disease, asthma, and allergies can be the result as well.
To make matters worse, the same tight junctions that are in the digestive tract, make up the barrier between the blood and the brain. The same processing breakdown leads to certain hormones made in the gut, like serotonin, to not reach the brain.
The resulting inflammatory reaction and hormonal imbalance can result in conditions such as anxiety, depression, ADHA, autism, and dementia.
How to Improve your Diet’s effect on your Microbiome?
It’s actually quite simple. The health of our internal environment is no different than that of the external environment of the world around us. We don’t have to save the environment, we just have to stop polluting it and it will regulate itself all on its own.
Step #1 - The first and most important step is to remove all the foods that are sprayed directly with antibiotics. That means removing wheat, corn and soy from your diet.
Step #2 - Next, the foods you do eat should be sourced from certified organic sources as much as possible. That means all veggies, fruit and meat.
Step #3 - Eat a wide variety of bright coloured and dark green veggies to ensure you intake a wide variety of different bacterial colonies.
Step #4 - Add some good fat foods like avocado, olive oil, seeds and nuts
Step #5 - Supplement your diet with a good Probiotic and Prebiotic combo.
Step #6 - Make sure to drink at least 2L of water a day to stay properly hydrated.
And by all means, only use prescription antibiotics for bacterial infections not for a cold, flu or any other viral infection.
We are what we eat, literally! If our bacteria are not happy and healthy, neither are we. That is why you should never underestimate your diet’s effect on your microbiome.
....Give it a try!
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