Now that we know a bit more about our microbes and
their value, here are five of the best ways to tend our microbial gardens:
1. Eat more plants.
By eating a more varied combination of plants, our microbial
communities become deeper, stronger and more synergistic in their action.
Eating a good amount of raw plants (salads, raw veggies, green smoothies, fresh
juices, etc.) provide natural enzymes that promote healthy microbial balance.
2. Get outdoors, or at least open a window.
In a previous blog we shared that Americans spend up to 93%
of time indoors. Simply by opening
a window or heading outdoors
, we can make sure we are exposed to all the
good bacteria in our environment. You might even want to take up gardening this
3. Get a pet.
Recent research has showed that children who grow up in a
household with a pet are less likely to develop allergies and even
autoimmunity. Pets are "dirty" creatures by their very nature, and they are
very efficient at transferring good bacteria to us from our environment.
4. Use antibiotics only in emergencies.
Antibiotics translate literally as "against life," and kill
bacteria indiscriminately. Unfortunately, more than 99% of these bacteria are beneficial
for our digestion, immunity and metabolism
. Antibiotic use is the
equivalent of a dropping a nuclear weapon in your digestive tract, and can lead to "fallout" that may last months, years or even the rest of your life. Only use
antibiotics if really necessary, and avoid particularly for colds,
flu or any
other viral infections, as antibiotics are not effective for those conditions
anyway. (Even though they are readily prescribed for them!)
5. Reduce your stress.
Studies as part of the Human Microbiome Project showed that,
under stress, the effectiveness of our microbial
communities become weakened. There are tons of great stress reduction tips here
on MindBodyGreen daily!