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Over the last year the Good Health Shop has started selling Grass-fed meat and free range chickens. We also have ready-to-drink kombucha and kefir starters. This is all part of a growing trend to not only feed our biology, but also to nourish The Microbiome. Yes it’s inside you! never heard of it? Your body’s microbiome—colonies of various microbes that reside in your gut and elsewhere in and on your body—is as unique to you as your fingerprint.

You have approximately 1,000 different species of bacteria living in and on your body, and these bacteria actually outnumber your body’s cells by 10 to 1.
So not only is your body the home of trillions of bacteria, you also house about one quadrillion viruses. All of these organisms perform a multitude of functions, and need to be properly balanced and cared for in order to maintain good health.

For the biome, a sterile gut environment is not ideal – when we wage war against bacteria with hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial soaps and antibiotics, health-promoting microbes are adversely affected along with potentially harmful bacteria

* Your gut bacteria influence your immune responses;
* Some microbes specifically help prevent certain disease states;
* Autistic children have a distinctly different microbiome compared to other children
* Mounting research suggests your microbiome may actually be one of the pre-eminent factors determining your overall longevity and continued mental health.

These recent findings make us re-evaluate our view of a “healthy diet”. One of the primary mechanisms of action that explains how a healthy diet “works” is that it upregulates and improves the quality of your gut microbiome. So it’s not just about getting specific nutrients from your food; your food also needs to support a healthy microbiome—as it turns out though, foods known for their value to health also tend to promote beneficial gut bacteria.

Examples include traditionally fermented foods and raw foods, especially those high in fibre. Certain gut microbes actually specialize in fermenting soluble fibre found in legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and the by-products of this fermenting activity help nourish the cells lining your colon. Some of these fermentation by-products also help calibrate your immune system to prevent inflammatory disorders.

The Easiest Way to Decimate Your Microbiome is poor dietary choices : Your diet can make or break your microbiome, and the easiest way to decimate the health-promoting microbes in your gut is to eat processed foods, and meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations. Processed foods are typically high in added sugars—high fructose corn syrup in particular—which feeds fungi, yeast, and detrimental bacteria.

Sugar is a preferred food source for fungi that produce yeast infections and sinusitis. Sugar promotes the inflammatory cascade that disrupts the pH and destabilizes the biome.

Eat plenty of fermented foods. Healthy choices include, fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir and unpasteurised fermented vegetables.

Don’t use antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotics supplement). And while some researchers are looking into methods that might help ameliorate the destruction of beneficial bacteria by antibiotics, your best bet is likely always going to be reseeding your gut with probiotics from fermented and cultured foods and/or a high quality probiotic supplement.

Take a probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics are an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis. Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains loaded with glyphosate, which is widely known to kill many bacteria.

Boost your soluble and insoluble fibre intake, focusing on vegetables, nuts, and seeds, including sprouted seeds.

Get your hands dirty in the garden. Germ-free living may not be in your best interest, as the loss of healthy bacteria can have wide-ranging influence on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Exposure to bacteria and viruses can serve as “natural vaccines” that strengthen your immune system and provide long-lasting immunity against disease. Getting your hands dirty in the garden can help reacquaint your immune system with beneficial microorganisms on the plants and in the soil. Lack of exposure to the outdoors can in and of itself cause your microbiome to become “deficient.”

Avoid processed foods. Excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria. Food emulsifiers such as polysorbate 80, carrageenan, and polyglycerols also appear to have an adverse effect on your gut flora. Unless 100% organic, they may also contain GMOs that tend to be heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate.

Open your windows. For the vast majority of human history the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature. Today, we spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. And, although keeping the outside out does have its advantages it has also changed the microbiome of your home. Opening a window and increasing natural airflow can improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit you.

Wash your dishes by hand instead of in the dishwasher. Recent research has shown that washing your dishes by hand leaves more bacteria on the dishes than dishwashers do, and that eating off these less-than-sterile dishes may actually decrease your risk of allergies by stimulating your immune system.

Avoid Antibacterial soap, as they too kill off both good and bad bacteria, and contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistance
(With thanks to Dr Mercola for a lot of the current research)