27 Apr Three Simple Steps to Improve Your Microbiome and Boost Your Vitality
By Mary Sheila Gonnella NC, BCHN
The Importance of a Healthy Microbiome
Have you heard that 70% of your immune system is in your gut?
It’s true and just another amazing factoid about our amazing human design. Our immune system is naturally designed to protect us from the potential threats of the outside world, which is why it makes perfect sense that it would closely monitor everything we consume by lining our gut.
When we’re born, the “innate” branch of our immune system is active at birth, this when the “adaptive” branch of the immune system begins its education, learning to protect us. And also from birth, our microbiome begins to develop and multiply.
The microbiome, which is essentially trillions of bacteria that line our bodies’ surfaces, both inside and outside the body, plays many essential roles in immune health and digestive function. In fact, the bacteria of the microbiome helps to “educate” our young immune system,
A healthy microbiome thriving throughout the digestive tract will support liberating minerals from your food, and creating B vitamins that are essential for energy production and methylation. The microbiome is active and supportive to the digestive process, part of the fire, or “pitta” of digestion.
My Journey to a Healthy Microbiome
From my perspective, a healthy and diverse microbiome deserves all the credit, which is also one thing I really attribute to my own healing journey, following years and years of antibiotics as a child.
For many years I struggled with candida and yeast infections, which also meant I got sick a lot and suffered with low energy. I put myself on anti-candida diets but had a hard time sticking to them because they were so restrictive. I’d do well for a few days, then, binge on sugar and feel my symptoms come back. I also know now that my binges were likely a result of not enough protein in my diet!
However, during this time, I moved onto an organic farm, and as I began to learn how to grow veggies, I also started eating more of them, and learning how to cook them. When my food came out of the ground rather than out of a bag or box, I started to notice a shift and feel better.
It really started as simply as eating more whole foods, more vegetables, and less processed and packaged foods. And that’s when I finally noticed a shift, THANK GOODNESS!
My journey to restoring my own health is why I’ve dedicated my life to learning as much as I can about how food meets our physiology, and helping others to reclaim their own health.
Optimizing Digestion and Immune Health: Three Microbiome Essentials
Today, I’d like to share three Microbiome Essentials with you, to optimize digestion and support a healthy strong immune system:
Fiber is Your Friend
Your microbiome’s main food source is fiber. It thrives on the kind of fiber we don’t really break down, but the microbiome does. By the time your food passes into the large intestine, we’ve absorbed all we can of the Amino Acids, Fatty Acids, Glucose, vitamins and minerals, and what then enters the large intestine is waste products, and fiber.
This means it’s time for the microbiome to feast on the fiber. Fiber is not only food for the microbiome, but it also creates bulk to make up our stool and binds to toxins ready for elimination. The bacteria munch on the fiber and actually create fatty acids that nourish the walls of the intestine.
I know, so amazing! We need to feed our microbiome on a daily basis, and fiber is your friend when it comes to accomplishing this job.
Mindfulness is a Must
Did you know that your microbiome responds to mindful eating too? Let’s just say that it’s much better to simply eat, instead of eating in front of the computer or behind the wheel. I know it sounds so simple … and … many of us struggle with simply sitting down to a nice meal.
The more mindful we are at a meal, the more we can be in the “rest and digest” mode of our nervous system, rather than “fight or flight”.
That means that we will have more digestive juices flowing, including acids and enzymes, and this is supportive to the digestive process, and “primes” digestion, helping to stoke your digestive fire for optimal digestion. Start with sitting at a table screen free!
The Earth is your Ally
We would not have healthy colorful plant foods if the soil itself did not have a healthy microbiome. The roots of all plants interact with the microbes in the soil to help them extract the minerals from the soil. The natural world, ie – outside your front door, is teeming with bacteria and there are plenty of ways to connect and support a healthy microbiome.
Getting your hands in the soil, whether it’s a few herbs in your windowsill, or growing a garden, the microbes around us are our allies. Walking in nature, or being barefoot on the earth, any of these things can really support your own microbiome and help to bring you into the “rest and digest” mode of the nervous system.
And choosing organic or regenerative produce when you can, means that the foods you are eating have less pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics, that can negatively impact the microbiome.
If you want to learn more about 3 of my favorite immune allies click here for a short video and discover the three powerful superfoods to lower stress and boost immunity.
To your vital life,
Mary Sheila Gonnella NC, BCHN
Founder, Occidental Nutrition
Are you Ready
from the inside out?
Enjoy the lasting
benefits of a
Healthy Weight Loss
— Let’s dive deep into
Join Our FREE community
With a curated book
to support you with
your health goals!