There are millions of microbes in your gut.  These microbes are beneficial to our health and collectively are called the microbiome. Microbes are living organisms and they are found everywhere. They consist of viruses, fungi, yeast, and bacteria. The gut microbiome outnumbers our own cells. For instance, in 1 g of stool, there are more than 100 billion microbes.
Now, this might sound gross but we must co-exist with our microbiome. We build our microbiome from the time we are young.
In fact, the way we are born affects our microbiome. A child born by cesarean section does not have as a healthy microbiome as a child born vaginally.
Here are four things you need to know about your gut microbiome that will keep it healthy:

Functions of the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome performs a wide variety of functions in the body. All these functions are designed to keep you healthy. Some of these functions include:
  • Helping our brain function well
  • Helping to balance our mood.
  • Synthesizes several vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid.
  • Regulates bowel movement.
  • Protects against some forms of cancer

A healthy balance of good and bad bacteria is vital to a Healthy Gut Microbiome

As stated, the gut microbiome consists of billions of bacteria, fungi, viruses. There is a fine balance of both good and bad bacteria. If there are too many bad bacteria, this can cause serious health conditions.
Some of these conditions may include:
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Unhealthy blood sugars
  • Abnormal liver detoxification 
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Food intolerance
  • Constipation and bowel irregularity 
How and what you eat affects the health of your microbiome 
We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat”. The food we eat affects us at a cellular level. The health of the gut microbiome is affected by not only what we eat, by how we eat. Eating healthy nutrient-dense foods rather than processed high sugar foods helps to maintain a healthy microbiome. Likewise taking the time to sit down and relax, and chew our food properly not only helps with proper digestion but also the health of the microbiome.
Prebiotics and Probiotics can help improve your microbiome
The bacteria, yeast, and fungi in our gut that are good for the function of our body are called probiotics. The most common probiotics in the gut are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. 
In order to maintain a healthy balance of the good bacteria (probiotics) in our gut, we need to consume between 1 to 25 billion colony forming units (CFUs) every single day. However, we can also get probiotics from the food we eat especially fermented foods.
Examples of probiotic foods include:
  • kefir
  • yogurt (no added sugar, active cultures) 
  • sour cream
  • fermented vegetables 
  • kimchi
  • kombucha 
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Raw pickled vegetables 
Probiotics can also be taken as supplements to improve gut health.  This may be necessary if you are experiencing symptoms of dysbiosis such as bloating, irregular bowel function, foggy thinking, etc, or if you have been on a recent course of antibiotics or nonsteroidal agents. 
In addition to gut health, some Probiotics strains may also help improve mental and cognitive health, cardiovascular health, immune health, as well as help with cancer prevention. 
The health of the gut can also be improved by fiber-rich foods which probiotics can feed. These fiber-rich foods are called Prebiotics. When probiotics feed on prebiotics they produce a chemical compound called butyric acid (butyrate). Butyrate acidifies the gut making it harder for bad bacteria to survive. It is also the preferred fuel for the cells that line the colon.
Examples of Prebiotic Foods include: 
  • Apple
  • Asparagus
  • Banana
  • Burdock
  • Chicory
  • Flaxseed
  • Dandelion greens
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Jicama
  • Leek
  • Legumes
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Yucon
  • Whole grains
  • Jerusalem artichoke 
  • Kanjac 
(source IFM toolkit)
Eating a blend of prebiotic and probiotic foods helps to maintain a healthy gut. A creative way to get enough prebiotics and probiotics into our diet is to consider adding them to a smoothie
Other ways we can help to promote a healthy microbiome include 
  • maintaining adequate hydration
  • reducing environmental toxin exposure 
  • reducing stress 
  • avoiding excess alcohol ingestion 
  • avoiding indiscriminate use of antibiotics 
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Not sure where to start if you feel you need to supplement Probiotics and Prebiotics? I would recommend you start with a company whose products I have been using for the last nine years called LifeVantage. LifeVantage is a publicly-traded company on the cutting edge of the biohacking movement using nutrigenomics to optimize cellular health and slow down the aging process.
Here are my recommendations:
Probio (TM)  contains a blend of several probiotics that have a variety of health benefits from optimizing cardiovascular health, immune health, and reducing gut dysbiosis. For more information or to order Probio, click here.
Physiq Prebio(TM) is a prebiotic supplement also marketed by Lifevantage. To learn more about Physiq Prebio or to order, click here.
To your Continued Health and Wellbeing,