Did you know that there are an estimated 100 trillion microbes in the human body?! That’s right- the microorganisms inside you outnumber your cells 10 to 1! This collection of organisms works together in harmony and makes up your microbiome.
Your biome can significantly influence your health, but many of us don’t exactly know what it is and how it functions.
Does your microbiome need a bit of extra love this month?
In today’s article, we are going to discuss more about your different microbiomes, how they are connected, and tangible tips for how to love on your microbiome today!
What is your microbiome?
Inside and outside your body is a beautiful ecosystem of abundant organisms known as microbiota. They are available all around us and assist with truly amazing things for your body and environment.
The microbiome is a culmination of all the genetic material that organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, and protozoa have to share with us in an interconnected web.
This mini ecosystem works together to aid your body with important functions including food digestion, vitamin synthesis, and neurotransmitter production like dopamine and serotonin (which play an essential role in determining your mood).
Like a community, your microbiome thrives with diversity. Diversity can be increased through eating a heavily plant-centered diet, interacting with others, connecting with soil, and more.
What places in your body have a microbiome?
While you may have heard of your gut microbiome before, you actually have microbiota residing in many areas of your body. Your body is a connected unit, and your microbiomes collaborate and unite together to accomplish tasks.
Other places in your body with a microbiome include:
The gut microbiome is often known as the epicenter because the greatest diversity of microbes is living in your gut!
The Connection Between the Gut and Lung Microbiome
Your other microbiomes look towards the nutrient-rich epicenter of your gut for help.
The microbes in your gut and the metabolites they produce can stimulate immune cells. These immune cells then travel to other organs, such as the lungs and brain, and help prevent or reverse harmful damage.
Science has discovered there is a dialogue between the gut and lung microbiome and named it the gut-lung axis.
The gut-lung axis has shown us that chronic lung conditions can be linked to poor gut health and gut dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is when your body has an imbalance in healthy vs. harmful bacteria.
So in order to maintain great lung health, it is key to focus on rebalancing that gut community and reversing any dysbiosis that may be occurring.
Tips to Strengthen Your Gut Microbiome
Follow these tips below for ways to strengthen your #GoodGut microbiome, aka the epicenter!
1. Prebiotic Fiber
Prebiotic fibers are non-digestible plant fibers that can be found in certain foods, which your gut bugs will ferment and create amazing things with. We love to eat prebiotic fibers in abundance because they give life to the amazing probiotic bacteria and other good microbes that reside in your gut
Prebiotic fibers are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, legumes, herbs, and spices.
Some specifically high prebiotic foods include:
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Green banana
2. Probiotic Foods
Probiotics are live bacteria and/or yeast that live in your microbiome. They are considered the “good guys” in your gut and are shown to have a ton of benefits for your overall health. We encourage you to eat at least 1-2 servings of probiotic foods/day.
Examples of probiotic foods we love:
- Unsweetened dairy-free yogurts
- Unsweetened kombucha
- Dairy-free kefir
- Steamed or raw tempeh
- Lacto-fermented veggies
Looking for an extra probiotic boost? A probiotic supplement can help you diversify your gut microbes and increase your number of good guys! One of our faves to recommend to those with a history of respiratory issues or frequent Upper Respiratory Infections is ResBiotic!
Get that gut moving! Daily exercise/movement is so important to stimulate your digestive system and help keep things flowing. It may even benefit your gut microbiome! Schedule time for movement into your day, whether it’s a walk around the park, an at-home yoga flow, or an intense workout.
Staying hydrated is essential for a healthy gut. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to support your digestion. Electrolytes can also be very helpful for hydration and gut health.
Try an electrolyte powder or make an at-home electrolyte cocktail with pink Himalayan salt, coconut water, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
5. Stress Reduction
Feeling extra stressed recently? This can impact your gut as certain inflammatory gut bugs will gobble up stress to grow and multiply. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your day to help you deal with life’s stressful events.
A few of our favorites are:
- Vagus-nerve stimulation
- Yoga sessions
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Daily exercise
- Emotional release
- Nature walks
- Time with loved ones
6. Proper Sleep
A good night’s rest can positively influence your gut and its functions. We aim for at least 7 hours per night to support our best gut health.
7. Healthy Community (People, Pets & Soil)
Your outside environment also impacts your inside microbiome! Surrounding yourself with people, pets, and soil exposes your body to a larger variety of microbes. Science tells us that a greater variety aka diversity of organisms is beneficial for gut health.
So use this as a sign to get out in your community! Take up gardening as a hobby or look into local farms around you. Consider getting a pet and making time out of your day for social connections (this helps with stress reduction, too).
Now you can love on your microbiome a little extra this month with some of this great information! Your body deserves that extra TLC and in time will respond with fewer symptoms, more energy, and overall improved health.
Our hope is that you take what you learned today and apply it to your daily life, however feels the most supportive for you.
By James and Dahlia Marin, Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionists with more than a decade of specialized work in gut health at Married to Health.
- Anand, S., & Mande, S. S. (2018). Diet, Microbiota and gut-lung connection. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02147
- Bingula, R., Filaire, M., Radosevic-Robin, N., Bey, M., Berthon, J.-Y., Bernalier-Donadille, A., Vasson, M.-P., & Filaire, E. (2017). Desired turbulence? gut-lung axis, immunity, and Lung Cancer. Journal of Oncology, 2017, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5035371
- Cho, I., & Blaser, M. J. (2012). The human microbiome: At the interface of Health and disease. Nature Reviews Genetics, 13(4), 260–270. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg3182
- Natalini, J. G., Singh, S., & Segal, L. N. (2022). The dynamic lung microbiome in health and disease. Nature Reviews Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-022-00821-x
- Shi, C. Y., Yu, C. H., Yu, W. Y., & Ying, H. Z. (2021). Gut-lung microbiota in chronic pulmonary diseases: Evolution, pathogenesis, and therapeutics. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, 2021, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/9278441