“With just shy of 21,000 genes the human genome is hardly bigger than that of The Worm. It is half the size of rice plant, and even the humble water flea outstrips it, with 31,000 genes. None of these species can talk, create, or think intelligent thoughts. You might think that humans would have a great many more genes than grasses and worms and fleas. But these 21,000 genes are not the only genes that run your body. We do not live alone. Each of us is a super organism; a collective of species, living-side-by-side and cooperatively running the body that sustains us all. Our own cells are outnumbered ten to one by the cells of the microbes that live in and on us. These 100 trillion microbes are known as microbiota (A. Collen).
It’s incredible isn’t it. That these tiny colonies of microbes run 90 percent of our bodies influencing our weight, mental health and immune system. Recent studies even suggest that microbes also play a part in diseases like autism and even cancer. Together with the microbiota the body contains 4.4 million genes – by that we are just half a percent human. Cows eat grass however they actually don’t posses the ability to digest the nutrition they need from this food and it is actually the bacteria stored in their gut that breakdown the nutrients for them. Although we aren’t the same as cows I think that this says a lot about the role of microbes in our lives because we too have our own specialisations. Take the microbe that synthesises vitamin B12 which is an essential vitamin for our brain – it would have taken far longer for us to develop the gene that stimulates the protein so instead this incredible little microbe does it for us.
It would make sense then to encourage a prosperous life for our little friends but sometimes the life styles that we choose to live don’t always precipitate that life for them. And with all of the antibiotics that we are constantly ingesting for mild to severe ailments its especially important that we know how to counterbalance these sometimes damaging life style choices with healthy and repairing ones too.
Below are a few products that you can use to increase the possibility of your little microbe friends being at their healthiest so that they can keep you healthy too;
Its become a real trend setter thing to drink and most cafes even sell it now, however kombucha really is a miracle product.
Made from a ‘scoby’ and fermented with tea and sugar Kombucha is incredibly easy to make at home. Teaming with good bacteria Kombucha has antioxidant properties that kill harmful bacteria and fight off free radicals. Studies have shown that regularly drinking Kombucha actually reduces liver toxicity, additionally it is rich in polyphenols and acetic acid which has been shown to suppress the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Kombucha has also been find to reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.
There really is ample evidence suggesting the wonderful benefits of Kombucha.
Much like Kombucha Kimchi is a fermented blend that includes cabbage and spices and has similar benefits to that of Kombucha. Kimchi can counteract inflammation and control the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Absorb minerals and vitamins and eliminate toxins. Kimchi can also assist in weight loss and increase mood and all over feeling of well being. Kimchi is teaming with good bacteria called ‘Lactobacilli’ that is also found in yogurt and this fantastic little pro-biotic has been found to have anti-cancer properties.
Kimchi is also incredibly easy to make and store at home.
Similar to yogurt kefir is a unique combination of milk and fermented kefir grains. The term kefir originated from Turkey and Russia and means “Feeling good”. It has been consumed for over 3,000 years. Kefir contains anywhere from 10 to 34 strains of probiotics and is also a rich source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and magnesium. Kefir is seen to be a strong probiotic even stronger than yogurt, having antibacterial properties that fights against harmful overgrowth. Contrary to what you may think, Kefir is actually low in lactose and can be tolerated by people who have dairy intolerances. Kefir has been seen to also improve allergy and asthma symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar
From salad dressings to cleaning products apple cider vinegar is so versatile in its uses. My mum mixes water and some apple cider and uses this to clean the shower and wipe down dirty surfaces because of its anti-bacterial properties killing some nasty bugs such as E.coli. It was observed that Hippocrates used cider to clean old wounds because of this very reason.
Apple cider actually has alkalising effects on the body which seems strange because it is acidic however when it is ingested potassium is formed increasing alkalinity and the body runs better under alkaline conditions. Cider stimulates HCL in the gut and promotes digestion all the while feeding the good bacteria that lives in our gut. When mixed with a table spoon of oil and some crushed garlic, salt, pepper and lemon it also makes a lovely, healthy salad dressing too! Win win.
By using these things in our daily lives we can decrease our chance of ailment and disease and increase our health and the way we feel. I think that we too often over complicate things when we really should just take it back to basics and its very easy to do. The above are all things that can be easily made in the home and do your health a world of wealth.