What is the Gut Microbiome, and Why is it So Important?
Your Gut Microbiome Explained
The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Overall Health
What many people may not know is that the gut microbiome has impacts that go beyond our digestive system. It also plays a role in our immune health. The “good” bacteria in our gut help to detect pathogens that enter our bodies through food consumption, often alerting our immune cells and instigating an immune response quickly enough to prevent serious illness.
More and more studies are finding interesting links between our gut microbiome and our neurological system. This phenomenon, also called the “gut-brain connection,” refers to the connection between gut bacteria and the brain through neurotransmitters and the vagus nerve. In fact, about 95% of the body’s amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gut. What does this mean? In short: it means that there is a significant connection between the gut and the brain, and that poor gut health has been linked to struggles with mental health, including increased rates of stress, anxiety, and depression.
How to Keep Your Microbiome in Great Shape
- Eat a diet that’s rich in probiotic foods, like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi.
- Maintain an active lifestyle by aiming for about 30 minutes or more of daily exercise. This doesn’t have to mean heavy-duty, high-intensity workouts: even a long daily walk can have major health benefits.
- Maintain a varied diet that’s rich in plant-based, whole foods while avoiding processed foods that are high in sugar.
- Always consult with a physician before taking any antibiotics or supplements.
Our gut microbiome is one of our greatest allies when it comes to promoting and maintaining long-term health. By following the tips above, you’ll be setting a solid foundation for a healthy gut.
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