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Are You Paying Attention to Your Gut Microbiome?

by Alan Daniel

Many microbes are residing in our bodies. All of them serve a specific purpose. Each microbiome is different from the other and has various functions associated depending upon the location. 

The gut is one of the main components in our gastrointestinal system, everything we eat transits through our gut and reaches other body organs in some form or fashion. The gut is also home to many microbiomes. 

What is the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome is also known as the normal flora or the natural environment of the gut. It combines all the microorganisms residing in your gut, including bacteria, fungi, and archaea. 

The gut microbiome contains approximately 150 times more genes than the ordinary human genome, and it weighs about 2kg which is greater than the size of the average human brain. 

The gut microbiome, or its overall status, will contribute to your overall health.

Why are gut microbes important?

The gut microbiome holds particular importance in our body. If the gut microbiome would have been absent in the human body, the humans could not survive. They aid in many body functions, including regulating sugar levels and obesity. Following are the ways through which the gut microbiome affects our body. 

The gut microbiome contains bacteria that aid in digesting fiber in our body. There are fewer or no enzymes available for fiber digestion in our body; hence, bacteria of the gut microbiome digest fiber and convert them to short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids are necessary for gut health and provide warmth and energy. They also make us less prone to diseases like cancer risks, diabetes, and heart diseases. 

The gut microbiome helps in alerting our immune system when a foreign body invades our normal homeostasis. The gut microbiome communicates with the immune cells and boosts our immune health as well. 

The gut microbiome includes bacteria that help in digesting sugars which are a component of breast milk. These bacteria grow inside the baby’s intestine and are called Bifidobacteria. 

The correlation between the gut microbiome and human psychology/brain 

The gut microbiome has a significant influence on human psychology and behavioral patterns. Remember that the microbiome aids in the development of the human brain and hence affects that areas of our brain that relate to social interactions too. In addition to this, recent studies suggest that the gut microbiome influences cognitive functions and fundamental behaviors, including stress management. 

What does that mean?

That means that you must pay attention to what you are eating and how you are contributing or taking away from this vibrant system.

Ways to improve gut health

Since the gut is involved in primary body functions such as boosting the immune system, controlling cognitive functions, and mental health, gut health should be maintained.

Here are ways through which you can support and improve your gut health. 

  • Intake probiotics and incorporate the use of fermented foods in your diet. Probiotics play a crucial role in maintaining your gut health by preventing inflammation, lesions, and other gut and intestinal problems. Probiotics and fermented foods that can improve git health include kimchi, kefir, and fermented vegetables. 
  • Eat less sugar and cut off artificial sweeteners from a diet, too, as these can lead to an imbalance of gut microbes, leading to a condition called dysbiosis. In addition to this, artificial sweeteners aspartame is linked to developing metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Hence, to maintain your gut health prevent sugary foods. 
  • Your gut health is directly linked to your mental health and vice versa. Hence, remember to manage your stress better as it can disturb the intestinal microbes. In addition to this, stress and sleep disturbances can negatively affect your gut health. 

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