The secret to better gut health you ask? Being in nature.
Greenwashing, bluewashing. We all need to do it!
I have recently attended a seminar on the microbiome. Those who have nfi what that means, let me explain. The microbiome relates to the microbes that inhabit our body.
Did you know that 99% of genes in our body are from microbes? They aren’t considered human! So we are 1% human DNA vs 99% microbes. Fascinating!!
So let’s get back to the beginning- why does being in nature affect our bacteria in our body so much? I say body here rather than just ‘gut’ because the gut is one place where there is certain bacteria. The skin is another, the eyes, the nose, the ears & the genitals. You get it right? Different microbes have different jobs and prefer to live in certain environments.
The microbes in our body respond to changes in our environment- both internally and externally. So, if you’re exposed to some microbes in nature everyday, getting a little dirt under your nails, dust on your skin, maybe some salt water through your hair, then your immune system and microbes work to adapt to that environment.
If you’re a runner or someone who likes to play sport outdoors, chances are, your microbiome is MUCH healthier than the average gym buff. Why? It’s the natural exposure to natural substances vs the way your body responds to being indoors, under fluoro lights listening to loud doof doof music, that has probably been disinfected with cleaning products.
And if you have a pet you like to cuddle and kiss, then your microbiome is going to be much healthier than the person next door with no pet. It’s the microbes baby!
Some practical tips to increase your gut health
1. Spend time in nature as much as possible. Get outside before breakfast, kick your shoes off and walk on the grass. Stand outside and get some sunshine in your eyes with no sunnies on. I have a lovely family tradition of going for a family walk to the park or the beach a few times a week. The kids climb trees, we build sand castles and sometimes they make mud pies if they can find some mud to play with.
2. Stop disinfecting everything! Say no to hand sanitisers! Unless of course it is a hazard and you really need to use them at work or something. Sanitisation has its place like during surgery and if there’s an outbreak of disease in a nursing home, but in a general sense, you are probably going to be healthier if you avoid sanitising your hands every 5 minutes of the day. Tribes in Africa don’t have the luxury of free access to clean water to wash their hands after making a kill to feed the tribe. They eat with dirt, blood and whatever else is on their hands. Some of them wash their hands in the stomach acid of the animal. That’s about it.
3. Eat more fibre rich foods. This is a no brainer for better health, and pretty easy to do if you already have a plant based diet. If you aren’t a fruit and veggie eater, it’s time to start! Ditch the low fibre foods such as white bread, white rice, excess meats and dairy. Switch them to high fibre varieties such as sprouted grain bread, brown rice, quinoa and make sure you’re eating double the amount of veggies than you are meat. Limit your portion size to a palm size per main meal (if you eat meat), and switch dairy for almond milk. Your microbes will love you for it!
If you or someone you know needs to know more, or you have a more complex gut issue, I CAN HELP! Send them my details by forwarding this post or talk to them about it.
Sometimes we all need a bit of help to get through our health issues. And I love to help.