Your gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other tiny organisms collectively known as microbiota. These microbiota not only help digest the food you eat but also play an essential role in maintaining overall health and wellbeing. An unbalanced microbiome can have a significant impact on your health. So what does it look like when you have an unbalanced microbiome?
- Digestive Issues:
When the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is disrupted, it can lead to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. In some cases, it may even cause diarrhoea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This happens when pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria outnumber beneficial ones.
- Weakened Immune System:
The gut is an essential part of the immune system because 70% of the immune cells are in your digestive tract. An imbalanced gut microbiome can impact their function and ultimately weaken the immune system’s response to infections.
- Mental Health Issues:
The state of your gut health is closely linked to mental wellness. The gut-brain connection covers communication between the two organs and plays a critical role in regulating mood, anxiety levels, stress responses, and other mental health issues. Maintaining a balanced microbial community in your body is very important for good mental health.
- Skin Disorders:
A healthy skin microbiome contains various beneficial bacterial species that help keep harmful pathogens away from skin surfaces while promoting healing and reducing inflammation factors such as acne and rosacea that occur when there are too many harmful bacteria in our microbiome working against these beneficial species.
- Autoimmune Diseases:
An imbalanced gut environment has been more and more suspected to be involved in various autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and others in recent research. The reason for this is that it can damage the gut lining, leading to the development of autoimmune disorders.
How Can You Balance Your Microbiome?
Improving gut health isn’t complicated—it requires changes in your diet and lifestyle. Here are some tips:
1. Eat a nourishing diet.
2. Limit the intake of sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats as they may promote harmful bacteria growth.
3. Avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily as they tend to kill all bacteria (good and bad), making it more difficult to rebuild a diverse bacterial community.
4. Include probiotic-rich sources like fermented foods sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir or yoghurt as well as prebiotic foods like bananas, garlic, and onions as they will help you feed beneficial bacteria in your microbiome.
5. Get enough sleep since our gut and brain have aligned circadian rhythms that influence each other through hormone changes triggered by lack of sleep.
Your gut plays an important role in keeping you healthy so it’s necessary to keep feeding the helpful bacteria that helps maintain its balance instead of destroying these critical organisms. Balancing your microbiome isn’t an overnight solution but through minor changes made to your habits and lifestyle choices over time, you can significantly improve it. Proactively managing your gut health can work wonders for your wellbeing and quality of life in the long run!