I love my bugs! This week, the gut microbiome hit the news again with a study carried out by scientists at the University of British Colombia, Canada which found that children had a higher risk of being diagnosed with asthma if they lack four types of bacteria in their gut.
They attributed the lack of bacteria to our hygienic society, antibacterial soaps, reduced contact with animals and increase in caesarean births. As I have said before, nature is wonderful and understanding the birthing process, daily contact and how nature ensures the baby has the correct bacteria in its gut is amazing.
Bacteria outnumber cells 10 to 1
The number of bacteria living in our gut outnumbers our cells 10 to 1 and the different roles they play are still being discovered. Some people even suggest that bacteria, rather than living in us, actually control us both mentally and physically! There’s a thought.
What is clear, however, is that a range of inflammatory diseases can already be traced to gut imbalances, as well as skin conditions, such a psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. We seem to be afraid of bacteria nowadays, but many are essential to our overall health.
Love the yogurt that makes you cringe!
Probiotics help in addressing the balance, but while live yogurt is better than nothing, be careful which one you choose. Some are laced with sugar – sorry to say, but you need the one that makes your face cringe (well initially in any case – you get used to it!). Kefir, a fermented milk drink is also a good source and other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh or kombucha.
This is because bacteria feed on the naturally occurring sugars and starches in these foods, creating lactic acid, which enhances the nutritional properties in the foods. As a result they also contain health giving lactic bacteria such as L. acidophilus and L. plantarum and L. mesenteroides. Fermenting has been in many traditional diets for centuries as it also helped preserve food. A number of studies have called for it to be included into modern day dietary recommendations.
As you know, though at Fresh Perceptions Health, we try to provide natural solutions to health in a common sense way. Don’t go mad on fermentation. A balanced diet is more important, but think about including something fermented once a week – your gut will thank you!