Go with your gut feeling...
These trillions of microbes can be collectively called the microbiota. What are they? Resident bacteria, fungi and viruses that live on and in you. Altogether these microbes weigh about the same as your brain (a little over 1kg) and are now considered to be a functioning organ that is part of you.
Depending on your age the microbiota can be dynamic or more stable; its composition varies depending on your genetics, your geography and most importantly your diet and lifestyle. We mostly consider the microbes that inhabit the gut wall – as this is where they are most abundant. What is most staggering is the sheer variety of microbes; the diversity of the gut microbiota is directly linked to the diversity of the plants you eat.
The more diverse your gut microbiota, the stronger the immune system will be.
This isn’t about just how your digestion functions, the state of the microbiota has a significant influence well beyond the gut wall – it affects your other systems of immunity, inflammation, energy production and metabolism. There are downstream effects to the whole body.
This incredible cooperative relationship between a human being and the resident microbes has evolved as a symbiotic mutually beneficial relationship. We have essentially outsourced some of our digestive capacity to microbes.
The microbiota enables and powers you with:
Your specific microbiota is unique to you. You largely inherit an imprint of the founding bacterial species from your mother and the journey of the microbes starts in-utero. Every factor from what your mother ate, whether she had antibiotics, how you were born, who you lived with, how you were weaned all impact the foundational microbiota. What’s so important to remember is no matter what stage you are at, it’s dynamic, you can change your microbiota by changing your next meal.