I have been reading a lot on microbes and how it affects our lives. Microbes are microorganisms found all around us. Our entire body is colonized by microbes; in fact we have more of them than we have human cells.
Many of these microbes in our bodies keep us healthy. Of course the dangerous ones are the ones that make us ill and are called Pathogens.
For us to remain healthy, we need to have a microbiota or microbiome that keeps us safe. Microbiome/microbiota is the community of these microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi, and others.
The types of microbes we have in our guts is influenced by how we were delivered (vaginal or cesarean), our nutrition, our environment, the genes we have and the medications we use.
A baby born through vaginal delivery has different sets of microbes than a baby born through CS and research is saying that baby born through CS has higher risks of allergies and different diseases much more than the other baby.
Also, the types of microbes in our guts are affected by the foods we eat. For instance, people who eat fibre-rich foods or diverse diets promote growth of healthy microbes than people who consume more of sugar and processed foods. A farmer’s gut too will be different from a city dweller’s because of the farmer’s constant contact with microbes from soil and produce. Do you get it?
If you take antibiotics, it clears out your gut microbiome, however, these leaves you open to danger because the good ones that also protect you are reduced greatly.
We need a crop of good microbes in our guts to take up space to prevent our bodies from being colonized by invaders (pathogens). If we let the pathogens in, we start to experience allergies, infections, and diseases like obesity, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders and a host of other diseases.
So you see, it is important to create a strong immune system and you can do that by ensuring you have a great microbiota. Our microbiota can also influence weight loss and weight gain.
So, how do we ensure that we have a healthy microbiota?
Scientific words like microbiota modulation has been coming up and there are quite a number of therapies coming up too. My focus here is the gut microbiota because science has mostly studied about just 30% of the gut microbiota.
Studies show that there are a few ways to create a healthy microbiota:
- Fecal transplant
This is putting the poo of someone with a healthy gut into your own gut. This sounds disgusting, however, it has worked for people suffering for some specific infections like recurrent clostridium defficile. Please do not try it at home. This is done under a controlled environment where the poo is analyzed, even frozen and the delivery of the poo into the gut is done in a scientific and hygienic way that it reaches the gut so that the inserted microbes can colonize the gut and take over.
This is one that most people are used to these days. Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote gut health when administered in adequate amount. You can find them in pharmacies in bottles. The common probiotic foods known around us are yoghurts (made with live culture), kimchi, Breast milk, Koko Sour water, Togwa (fermented maize and millet) etc.
However, some randomized trials show that the effect of probiotics on the gut microbiome may be mild.
These are foods (fibres) that are used by microbes to give us better health. They stimulate microbial growth in the gut. Some are Oligosaccharides like the galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS), fructo-Oligosaccharides and then we have inulin. Foods that fall under prebiotics include onions, garlic, wheat, banana, some cereals, dairy, beans,
These are a mixture of probiotics and prebiotics to get a synergy in increasing overall gut health.
I do not have much information on this yet but will get getting more information across to you. See more about African foods that promote gut health.
In a nutshell
If you eat more of fibre rich foods like legumes, vegetables, fruits and other foods that contain live microbes like natural yoghurts (the one that you have to consume within a certain number of days and not the one that can stay for years on the counter), you stand a chance of changing (modulating) your microbiota or microbiome to create a healthy internal environment.
Interestingly, when you swap these kind of foods with sugar and highly processed foods, you find out that you can lose weight more easily and even learn to curb your appetite because the microbes that make you crave for more sugar and ‘bad stuff’ are being eliminated.
I find that even though the scientific world does not acknowledge detoxs and cleanses (and rightfully so because of the high level of scamming going on), setting out days to focus solely on these kind of foods can alter your microbiota and help your body recover or keep healthy. So, the scientific world is calling it microbiota modulation as opposed to a flimsy cleanse or detox which focuses on ‘removing toxins’ from the body. microbiota modulation helps to reorganize your microbial community to promote your health.
Knowledge is power, my people, if you can apply it well. I hope this article will help you eat a little better today.