Updated: Mar 30
“All disease begins in the gut” this famous, and insightful statement was quoted by the Godfather of Medicine – Hippocrates, some 2,500 years ago.
Fast forward to now, with the advancements in science, medicine and the understanding of the human body, and we can see quite clearly that he could not have been more accurate.
The current belief is; You are what your Microbiome does for you. But what is this “microbiome”? What exactly does it do for us? And most importantly, how can we optimise it to benefit our health?
The Microbiome refers to the microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, yeast, parasites – collectively called microbiotia), that reside in us, as well as on all of our external tissues. Within the gut alone these organisms outnumber our own cells 10:1, meaning essentially we are only 10% human, and 10% microbiotia!
We have a mutual, or symbiotic, relationship with the microbiota in our gut most specifically. We feed them, and then in turn the compounds they release from metabolising our food do wonderful things for our health. They are essential to our survival, and for the ability of our health to thrive.
Some of the many jobs the gut microbiome is involved in include;
Improving digestion and assimilation of nutrients
Enhancing our immunity
Improving cardiovascular health
Helping to control the nervous system, and even regulating mental disorders
Prevention of weight gain and diabetes
What we now know is that each of us has a unique balance and ratio of these trillions of organisms, almost like our individual fingerprint. Sometimes the balance can be unhealthy, and cause negative effects to our health, this state is called “dysbiosis”, an imbalance of beneficial versus harmful bacteria. The good news – we can manipulate this balance, so that it favours the beneficial organisms to be the most dominant, and how do we do this? Via our diet!
Over our lifetime around 60 tonnes of food passes through the gut, and everything we choose to eat, manipulates our gut bacteria in one way or another. The balance and expression of our gut bacteria has been shown to shift in just 24 hours after changing our diet, that’s how powerful it is. Below are a few key suggestions that help move our guts microbiome to a healthier and more helpful balance, therefore greatly improving your health body wide.