It is kind of ironic how quickly we throw away our food that was exposed or covered with bacteria. Many diseases like leprosy, anthrax, salmonella, diarrhea, syphilis, pneumonia, and strep make us physically not well as certain bacteria multiply in our very vulnerable bodies. But are bacteria really our enemies?
Bacteria are parasites and freeloaders, some of which live in symbiosis (partnership where they benefit from us and us from them). It happens when the tummy breaks the food we just ate down into a fine mush. These tiny friends of ours feast on everything that we ingest and the by-products cover a considerable portion of the nutrients our bodies absorb. The sugars, starches, proteins, and fibers cannot be digested fully by our own enzymes.
A microbiome is a set of genes in the microbes found in our bodies.
Our gut, which happens to be the combat zone of our immune system, is always exposed to new microbes that come from everything we eat and drink. Whatever is happening in our gut is in the participation of the central nervous system, and that could be a reason why what we eat influences our mood.
So whatever you put into your body, whatever you touch, where you are, your age and gender (literally everything about you) will dictate what kind of microbes live in your body.
Microbes had been known to science for hundreds of years. Antony van Leeuwenhoek, a scientist who had significant contributions in the history of the compound microscope, found microbes wherever he looks with the use of microscopes, but his findings were ignored. It was not until the 1870s when they were recognized as responsible for the spread of diseases.
Composition Of The Microbiome
Microbiomes in the body of each individual is as unique as their fingerprint and is made up of different types of bacteria. The specific number of bacteria cells are changing every day, but it is believed that a human being carries an estimated amount of 3 pounds of bacteria in his intestine. Scientists forecast it to be ten microbes in one human cell.
These microbiomes are full of activity, and they hang out in every part of our body from the tip of our tongue to the lungs and the gut. They eat whatever we eat and they, too, talk to one another, and very much like us. There are good and friendly ones (make us healthy) and there are annoying ones also (put us in trouble by making us sick).
The Friendly Microbiomes
Gut “flora” works effectively to aid in our metabolic function.
Researchers have found some indicators that gut microbes could possibly lower cholesterol levels, prevent symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), help a person lose weight, and affect one’s mood. Because of these findings, they believe that they are just as influential as our genes when it comes to our health. Gut problems like bloating and pain could possibly be relieved by balancing the microbiome in our gut. They could even prevent other problems like food poisoning or even cancer.
Understanding Our Tiny Friends
These tiny friends of ours are said to start colonizing our body the day we were born and immediately programmed our immune system to treat them as friends. The microbes in different parts of our bodies are all different, meaning, the bugs found in our armpit are very much different from those found in our stomach. And whether you or your husband have the same types of bacteria, he may have some kind of bacteria that is not present in you.
What Do These Little Friendly Bugs Do For You?
These bacteria are like tiny soldiers that are busy protecting your internal world. Experts believe that they each have their functions like:
- There are those responsible for regulating inflammation.
- There are others who help manage the appetite.
- Some are busy guarding the immune system.
- Others are safeguarding the mood.
The Not So Friendly Ones
Not all bugs are friendly, as I said earlier. There are the annoying ones, like the strep throat troublemaker. There are maybe bugs you want to kick out of your system, but there is a cluster of good ones like the soldiers I mentioned above. It is essential that we maintain the equilibrium between the good and the bad ones for our health’s sake.
Harmful or helpful bacteria, whichever is dominating your gut depends on what you feed your body. Start building your useful microbiome by
- eating more fibers
- controlling your bad bugs
- taking antibiotics only as needed
- eating a wide range of fruits and veggies
- taking microbe supplements with a large number of strains
Not all can be your friends, so instead of putting forth an effort to love your enemies, you can just treat your friends a little better by taking care of them.