My recent blog series has looked at the truth behind germs, an emerging area of science that is only now starting to be fully understood.
I'm always looking for great resources to help everyone lead healthier lives, and this 3-minute TedEd video is a great starting point for better understanding this complex relationship.
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 Summer!
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!