As per Emeran Mayer, MD the author of The Mind Gut Connection there are over 100 trillion bacteria in the gut; some help to break food down, absorb nutritions and vitamins, and produce enzymes.
The gut also has 50-100 million nerve cells (as many as your spinal cord); the gut is often referred to as the second brain!
As young children, we develop our gut microbiome (the collection of these gut bacteria) through the food we eat, and the way we interact with our environment (touching everything and putting our hands in our mouths). If we do not have enough bacteria it leaves us vulnerable, which can potentially lead to diseases such as autism or IBS.
Typically, by the time we are 20-30 our gut microbiomes are fully developed. Most people remain healthy throughout their adult life.
Many start to see a down turn of health in later years. This can potentially be due to decreased gut bacteria diversity leading to development of neurodegereative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
It can be speculated that these periods of low diversity can be risk factors for developing such diseases.
How can we increase the gut microbiome?
- Breast Feed Infants for at least 6 months
- Consume a variety of Fruits, Vegetables, & Legumes
- Consume Fermented Foods (yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi).
- Limit Artificial Sweeteners
- Consume foods rich in Polyphenols (red wine, cocoa, green tea, blueberries, broccoli).
The food we intake is our first line of defense! Be proactive when it comes to your body; nourish yourself with good food that not only tastes good but that is good for you!