And I mean anything from sleeping well, to getting through the flue with a breeze to excelling at studies and keeping a strong, resilient body.
But did you know that it may also be responsible for manipulating your food choices? (1) Perhaps it’s not your willpower that’s driving you to binge on Oreos, but an imbalance in your gut bacteria (dysbiosis)?
What is the microbiome?
The microbiome is a collection of microbes, a whole ecosystem of bacteria that live inside the human body. The biggest amount of these is located in the gut. Imagine a whole city inside your gut, which is filled with different types of inhabitants that each have a role to play.
Although we cannot see them with the naked eye, there are billions of different bacteria inside, that can influence our moods, nervous system, mental health and even weight. So in plain language, a strong and balanced ecosystem inside your gut means ‘the bad guys’ like years and microbes cannot overgrow and take over.
Research confirms (2) that people who eat a balanced diet and people who go over their daily sugar requirement every single day have very different makeup of microbiome, with different microbes being dominant.
Can it affect my food choices?
The past decade of mass curiosity and obsession with finding out what else the human microbiome is responsible for has uncovered some pretty interesting knowledge, which means that instead of our weak willpower we can now easily blame ‘our weak gut balance’ (hmmm, doesn’t sound much better, does it?).
It appears that overgrown microbes and yeast have the ability to manipulate our food choices and send the host (that’s you and me!) signals and cravings to feed them. You may have already heard of candida and this is just one of the typical symptoms. Here come the cravings for sugar, processed foods and simple carbs.
And technically it’s not you- it’s them.
What affects your microbiome health?
- Excess sugar, processed foods, sweeteners, additives
- Stress and anxiety
- Chlorinated and fluoridated water
- Lacking nutrients and balance in your diet
- Lacking fibre and whole foods in your diet
- Too much time indoors and around technology
- Lack of movement and activity
- Lack of sleep
- Cigarette smoking
- Alcohol (3).