What is a microbiome? Living in your intestinal tract is your “gut microbiome.” It’s made up of trillions of microorganisms that are mainly bacteria.
These bacteria are extremely important to your health and wellbeing. They live in your digestive system, where their role is to help digest the food you eat. They also help with absorbing all the nutrients from your food, too.
The microbiome is also involved with several other processes beyond just your digestive system. These include your metabolism, body weight, immune regulation, brain functions, and mood.
Several factors play a part in the type and amount of bacteria each person has. It’s interesting to note that each person has their own unique bacteria.
What is a Healthy Gut Anyway?
A healthy gut has several functions. Your healthy gut has a barrier to keeping undigested food and toxins from going into your bloodstream.
Other important jobs include helping to fight off infection. A healthy gut continually performs digestive and regulatory functions which means it’s absorbing all the nutrients that keep your body healthy and feeling it’s best.
What is a Microbiome and How Is it Unique?
The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes that live on and inside your body. The microbes consist of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Most of them live in your gut, especially in the large intestine.
The bacteria that live in us is beneficial to us. Here are some ways it helps:
- Helps to digest your food
- Regulates your immune system
- Protects against disease-causing bacteria
- Produces vitamins including B vitamins
- Produces Vitamin K, which is needed for blood coagulation
Your gut should have a healthy balance of friendly and unfriendly bacteria. It is believed that maintaining this balance will improve digestion and reduce inflammation. This balance is also known to boost metabolism, take away cravings, and help you lose weight.
Because we all live our lives in different environments and surroundings, each person has a gut microbiome that looks different than that of our families and friends. Your microbiome is unique to you!
How Does Your Microbiome Affect Gut Health?
Candida Impacts Your Microbiome
Candida is a type of yeast or fungus that lives in normal amounts in our body. It even lives in your gut. When there is an overgrowth of this yeast in your gut, it can cause “leaky gut.” This means that the intestinal lining is damaged. When this happens, unwanted food particles and other things permeate the intestinal wall.
Candida can cause infections and illnesses like the cold, flu, or an autoimmune issue. It’s usually part of the problem for those illnesses.
One thing that causes an overgrowth of Candida in your gut is a diet heavily laden with sugar and carbs. The Candida yeast will thrive in a body that has excess sugar in it.
Your Diet Plays a Role
You can keep your gut healthy by following a good diet. Eat foods that are rich in probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are bacteria that are good for your digestive system. Most people assume that bacteria are germs that cause sickness and diseases. But your body is full of bacteria! Both good and bad. Probiotics are known as helpful bacteria because they keep your gut healthy!
You can find probiotics (which are live bacteria), in foods like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi.
Those foods contain friendly bacteria and help to prevent unfriendly bacteria from taking over.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that helps to feed friendly bacteria. This fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which leads to a healthier digestive system. Some of these nutrients are butyrate, acetate, and propionate, which are short-chain fatty acids that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and improve your metabolic health! They are in foods such as asparagus, garlic, onion, artichokes, leek, and radishes.
As mentioned earlier, it is best to eliminate sugar from your diet. Sugar causes harmful bacteria to overgrow. Unfortunately, refined sugars and carbohydrates are everywhere. They are hiding in all types of foods. It’s good to read labels and watch for added glucose, fructose, lactose, and maltose dextrose.
Alcohol also contains a high amount of sugar. Reducing your alcohol consumption is another way to help improve your gut health.
Knowing what a microbiome is and how it affects your health can help you plan your diet and lifestyle more efficiently. You should have a good exercise program and get plenty of sleep. Also, try to reduce your exposure to stress.
Having different types of bacteria in your gut is a good thing. Focus on how you can promote a well-functioning microbiome so it can keep performing its important jobs all the time.