Introducing Botanical Bodies!
You’ve likely heard it before: you are more microbiome than you are human. But, what does that mean? How does this affect you, what is the microbiome, and how do you take care of it?!
Research has confirmed that we share our bodies with more than 100 trillion living, bacterial organisms, making up a mini-ecosystem within our skin called the microbiome. This living, breathing, beautiful inner garden has been found to control everything from digestion to hormones, to skin, energy levels, mood, and even your body's ability to fight disease. The research coming out about the microbiome is so exciting, so unprecedented, and so inspiring, that we've decided to devote all of June to sharing it with you....
Welcome to our first ever BOTANICAL BODIES MONTH, where we will help you not only get to know the lush, thriving garden living inside of you, but we'll teach you, bite by bite, exactly how to take care of it for optimal health, wellness, & vitality. To kick off our month-long journey into discovering and sharing the power of the microbiome, we've asked one of our go-to experts in this emerging field to take it away. Dr. Robin Berzin, MD, give us the 411 on the microbiome, please!
"There is a secret ecosystem living inside you that orchestrates your health from behind-the-scenes.
The trillions of microbes and their genetic material living in your gut and on your skin affects everything from your mood and mental focus, to how your immune system functions, how you store fat, and whether or not your genes get switched on or off.
The many functions of this hidden organ known as the Microbiome have only just recently begun to reveal themselves. So far, the findings are fascinating.
Take this for example: Your gut bacteria make neurotransmitters. Serontonin, dopamine and GABA, the brain’s chemical messengers, are abundant in your gut, which is helping researchers to better understand why intestinal disorders tend to coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety.
You are more bacteria than you are human. Only 10% of the cells in your body are human.
You share the rest of you with billions of bacteria that, if you support them, can help you have good digestion, a balanced mood, clear thinking, glowing skin and overall vibrant health.
We'll be digging into this a lot more over the next month, but here are 5 general ways to start being better to your microbiome today:
1) Feed the beneficial species their favorite foods:
Your beneficial bacteria prefer fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Their all time favorite foods are the ones that contain the right kind of fiber found in asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, garlic, leeks, onions, radishes, carrots and tomatoes.
Eating naturally-occurring bacteria in fermented form - kimchi, raw sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, and kefir (a type of fermented milk)- is another way to keep friendly bacteria levels up.
Note: if you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, these pre-biotic and fermented foods can cause more gas and bloating. In this case, sometimes you have to avoid these foods for a while to let the bad guys die off, and then resume these foods later so the good guys can thrive.
2) Don't feed the bad species their favorite foods:
The less beneficial microbes in your but that take-over and cause issues (think fungi and yeast like Candida) really love sugary, processed foods because that’s the easiest for them to break-down into glucose needed for their growth. Starve them by avoiding sweet or starchy foods and drinks. Stick to protein, healthy fats, and low-starch plants!
3) Keep the good guys in charge:
Reinoculate beneficial bacteria with a high-quality, broad-spectrum probiotic supplement.
Note: unfortunately the supplement industry isn’t regulated so to make sure you get what you’re promised on the packaging, make sure you get your probiotic from a physician and not over-the-counter at your local healthstore.
4) Use them to drive weightloss:
If you keep your gut truly happy you can expect a smaller waist in return. Certain microbes signal the body to store more energy as fat. Microbiome transplant studies (1, 2) have demonstrated that introducing specific microbes can influence weight loss or gain.
Previous research (3) demonstrated that low microbiome diversity may be a risk factor for developing metabolic disorders such as obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Boost your gut biodiversity with the right foods and active stress management.
5) Kill them with kindness, not stress:
Your brain can't lie to your belly. When you’re stressed out, your microbiome knows it first, and it handles it badly. Stress interferes with digestion and can drive yeast overgrowth and inflammation in the gut, which damages your beneficial bacteria.
Note- gut feelings aren’t limited to just work stress - loneliness, inadequacy, grief, boredom, low self-esteem, guilt - all qualify!
Find the things that center you and do them daily!"