In the past, medical experts tackled symptoms of illness, or the visible manifestations of specific problems, rather than looking at unifying, underlying mechanisms of health. This piecemeal approach worked to resolve specific issues in the short term, but it was comparable to a game of whack-a-mole: once one problem was addressed, another would arise. Thankfully, things are changing.
In an attempt to understand how the human body functions as a single unit, researchers have recently taken an interest in what’s known as “the gut microbiome.” As The Guardian reports, the microbiome might be the key to understanding overall human health, having been linked to a plethora of common conditions, illnesses, mental states, drug responses and more.
In this post, let’s take a closer look at this frontier topic in modern medicine. What is the microbiome? Why is it important? And how can you support a strong through meal planning and organic products from Rritual Superfoods?
What Is the Gut Microbiome, Exactly? And Why Is It Important?
Put plainly, the microbiome is the ecosystem of bacteria and other microorganisms living inside your intestines and stomach. “Wait,” you might be thinking, “aren’t bacteria bad?”
Not all bacteria are bad! In fact, quite the opposite – this thriving colony of bacteria executes several important tasks for our bodies, warding off harmful microbes, providing nourishment to our cells, and even influencing our central nervous system. In this way, researchers posit that the human microbiome plays a significant role in immune response, physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Studies have linked the microbiome to all sorts of other health factors as well. Researchers believe that a healthy microbiome may be responsible for weight regulation, heart health, blood sugar maintenance and mental health.
You can think of these little microbes less as harmful invaders, and more like evolutionarily symbiotic companions. Since the beginning of time, they have been co-existing with humans, helping us live our best lives.
How to Strengthen Your Microbiome for Holistic Health
Strengthening your microbiome is a multi-pronged approach, involving regular sleep, stress mitigation and diet.
Perhaps the most important factor in microbiome support is ensuring that you eat a healthy amount of prebiotics. You’ve probably heard of probiotics (beneficial bacteria and yeasts that you can eat). Prebiotics are, essentially, food for those probiotics –dietary fiber, short-chain fatty acids, etc., that your microbiome uses to nourish itself.
You can find several prebiotic sources at your local grocery store: leafy greens, garlic, onions, bananas, barley and mushrooms. But perhapsthe best way to get your prebiotics is through functional mushrooms like Chaga, lion’s mane and reishi. Not only do these superfood mushrooms keep your microbiome stocked with prebiotics, but they may also help with stress mitigation – another factor in healthy microbiome maintenance. Look for organic functional mushrooms online, or check out the link in the introduction.