The Microbiome: a major player in our health
We prefer not to think about it. But all kinds of bacteria, viruses, and yeasts live in our bodies. Good bacteria that is. And they all have a function too. Together they form the human microbiome. And while we don’t see, feel or smell them, they play a hugely important role in our life and health. That is why we explain the microbiome in this article.
What is the microbiome?
In and on our body are all kinds of micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts. Together they are referred to as the microbiome. Also known as microbiota or microflora. The bacteria reside in your gastrointestinal tract, skin, upper respiratory tract and gender. The microbiome of one person consists of approximately 1,000 different types of microorganisms.
You get the first bacteria at birth through the birth canal. A child’s microbiome therefore resembles that of his or her mother. Babies who are born via caesarean section do not get these bacteria. Hence, they have a different microbiome. This does not make them unhealthy!
Until you, 75 e remains microbiome under stable conditions equal. After that, diversity declines. Bacteria that are harmful therefore have a greater chance and inconveniences can arise.
Actually, we still don’t know what all those bacteria do exactly. There are so many and so many factors that play a role, that it is difficult to do proper research. But we now know where they play an important role.
Important functions of the microbiome include protection against pathogens, or your immune system and digestion. They convert food into energy. And block all harmful substances.
The gut microbiome
So what we eat influences the composition of the microbiome. If you eat very unhealthy, too much or too little, it has an effect on the microbiome and also on how you feel. Another reason to eat healthy.
About 160 different bacteria live in your intestines. Different species can have the same function. It is therefore not the case that everyone has the same amount of other bacteria in his / her body.
It is also not the case that you have no wrong bacteria in your body. A healthy person has both good and harmful bacteria in the intestines. These ‘live’ in balance with each other.
We humans like boxes and divisions. For example, we have also made a division between types of intestines or intestinal flora. A certain group of bacteria predominates in each of the three types. That group absorbs the energy and nutrients from food in a different way than the other.
How healthy your intestinal flora is does not only affect how you feel in your stomach. It seems that it also affects our emotions. A healthy microbiome would allow for faster and more efficient thinking.
A healthy diet consists of enough vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and legumes. These are foods that are good for your gut bacteria. An excess of fat and carbohydrates is also not recommended.
Probiotics are said to be good for the microbiome in your gut. Probiotics are products with good micro-organisms. They can help restore balance in your gut. Incidentally, it is not always necessary to take a probiotic. You can go a long way by adjusting your diet. These are foods that also contain good bacteria:
- Unpasteurized vinegar
Butterflies in your stomach
Have you ever wondered where those butterflies in your stomach come from? Love is a strong emotion. Your body sends less blood to the abdomen at such times. That gives the feeling of butterflies.
The microbiome and obesity
There is a relationship between microbiome health and weight. That is why more and more studies are being done with faeces to see which bacteria they find in it and which not.
Being overweight doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy microbiome. It’s not that simple. Someone with the ‘perfect’ weight can still be unhealthy, partly due to an unhealthy microbiome.
It is true that overweight people more often have fewer and fewer types of bacteria. That can make it more difficult to lose weight. The wrong composition can ensure that you lose weight less quickly or gain weight earlier.
It can therefore be very useful to also look at the composition of food if you are overweight. Varied food helps a lot. But you can also adapt your diet to the microbiome and its recovery. Eating something can be much better than leaving it alone. You can ask for advice from a professional for this.
The microbiome on the skin
The house is the largest organ. It protects us from all kinds of infections and miseries. After birth, all kinds of things grow on your skin, together they form the skin microbiome.
These good bacteria are also on your hands. And although it is very good to wash your hands at certain times, washing too much puts you at risk.
People who wash their hands very often with alcohol or soap disrupt the microbiome. This gives space to harmful bacteria. A consequence of this is the development of hand eczema.