What is the gut microbiome? Why should you care?
November 30, 2018
The gut microbiome is the world of microorganisms that live within your gastrointestinal tract. Don’t get nervous – they are supposed to be there!
The world within…
Yes, that’s right – each of us walks around with as many as 1,000,000,000,000,000 microorganisms living inside our body. Is that’s too many zeros for you to contemplate? Think of it this way: Take all the cells in your body and multiply that number by 10.
So why should you care?
For a long time, we didn’t know about this inner world. We had no understanding of the role it plays in our health − or our weight. Thankfully, this has changed within the past few years thanks to ongoing research around the world.
Research has revealed that our gut microbiome plays an essential role in our digestion and in helping our body fight off foreign invaders. Indeed, the largest part of our immune system is now thought to be not the white blood cells many of us learned about in high school biology. It’s our digestive tract and microbiome!
Different calories from the same food?!
Some scientists also now believe that our gut microbiome plays a role in how much energy we derive from our food. Yes, we think it’s possible that two people can eat the same food and get different amounts of calories. The difference depends on their gut microbiome.
It’s also becoming more evident that our gut microbiome may play a role in key health issues facing society today. These include weight gain, obesity, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular issues, and diabetes. It also may affect how our body stores fat.
To explore new worlds…
This past October I attended a fascinating symposium put on by Harvard Medical School. Why? I am dedicated to staying up to date on research and information that could help the people change their eating habits or address gut health issues.
For two days the leading researchers from around the world discussed the newest research about how what we eat affects our gut microbiome and how it affects our health. For someone like me who could be considered a “science geek” and is fascinated by how our bodies work, it was better than a trip to Disney World – really!
What it means…
For those of you who are not as enthralled by body science as I am, I’ve simplified the hours of science into two key points:
Our gut microbiome affects our health and weight.
What we eat – or don’t eat – affects our gut microbiome.
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Having personally struggled with weight and gut health issues, I understand how easy it is to think that food is the enemy especially with the changes our bodies undergo as we age. It doesn’t have to be that way!
I love using my extensive education and coach approach to help people realize it is possible to feel better and be healthier while still enjoying their life and food.