7 Simple Ways To Prioritize Your Microbiome Health
You've likely heard of the microbiome—also known as the living ecosystem of bacteria living in and on your body—and how it is absolutely crucial in living a balanced and fulfilled life.
Unfortunately, your microbiome isn’t a self-sustaining system; you need to give this delicate community both the raw materials and the nourishment it needs to really thrive and work on your behalf supporting your physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. Follow these simple steps to make all of your body’s microbiomes unstoppable:
1. Take a probiotic supplement.
The first step in any microbiome-building regimen is taking a high-quality, effective (read: able to survive stomach acids), multi-strain probiotic formula to seed your gut with billions of beneficial bacteria. And while a digestive probiotic supplement is key to your gut and overall health, an oral probiotic formula with special strains to combat cavity-causing bacteria is crucial for keeping your mouth microbiome smile-ready.
2. Fill up on prebiotics.
Prebiotics are the indigestible fibers in plant-based foods that feed your friendly flora, and without them, it’s much harder for the probiotics in your gut to grow and multiply. Many healthy foods are great sources of prebiotics—like bananas, garlic, onions, and tomatoes—but an organic, food-based prebiotic powder supplement is a great way to consistently nourish your bacterial friends. While you focus on prebiotics, also make sure to steer clear of foods that can damage your microbiome, like sugar, artificial sweeteners, pesticide- and antibiotic-laden produce and meats, GMOs, emulsifiers, and fried and processed foods.
3. Ditch the antibacterial ingredients.
Anything that contains antibacterial or antimicrobial ingredients, from cleaners and mouthwash to lotions and deodorants, can deplete the beneficial bacteria in your gut, on your skin, and in your mouth. Instead, look for products with natural, gentle ingredients that support your microbiome.
4. Expose yourself to diversity.
A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome, and there’s no better way to diversify your microbial ecosystem than to spend time outdoors in nature, play in the dirt, and hang out around animals as often as you are able—all will contribute valuable additions to your resident populations of microbes.
5. Manage your stress.
Besides having adverse effects on your overall health and wellness, stress also does a number on your microbiome, depleting the beneficial bacteria you need to stay well. Do what you can to keep chronic stress at bay by finding something that brings you daily peace, like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or running. Cultivating a supportive network of friends and family can also do wonders for your ability to let go and relax.
6. Prioritize sleep.
Studies show1 that just two consecutive nights of too little sleep can lead to negative (and possibly long-term) changes in your gut microbiota. So, set yourself up for sleep success by establishing a pre-sleep relaxing ritual to wind down, sticking to a regular bedtime, and keeping your sleeping space dark and cool.
7. Create space for self-care.
Making the time to take care of yourself from the inside out—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—will pay you back in dividends when it comes to your health and happiness. Saying no, allowing room for idleness, being present, slowing down, and nurturing your mind, body, and soul through ease and connection with others all give you the opportunity to tune into (and nurture) your deepest, most authentic self.
Living your best life means taking care of and nurturing your whole self—not just what people see on the outside, but deep down into the very microscopic core of you, where your magnificent microbiome dwells. So, whatever your dreams and goals may be, take the time to get to know your microbiome as the foundation of your health and happiness.
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Jamie Morea is a microbiome expert, gut health evangelist, and co-founder of the probiotic company, Hyperbiotics. She has been working in microbiology research and development for the past ten years and is devoted to making a difference by leveraging the latest scientific research to educate, inspire, and empower individuals on their journey toward greater health.