Did you know that there are particles plants give off that can change your microbiome?
- Research proves that being surrounded by a natural, outdoor environment has a positive impact on the microbiome. Some of this research includes:
- Being exposed to microbes in natural environments promote microbiome diversity
- Urbanization leads to diminished biodiversity and reduced ecological health
- Microbes from soil can populate in a germ-free gut
- Growing up in the countryside and rural environments, like farms, results in healthier children with strong microbiomes
- Conversely, children that grow up in urban areas have less diverse microbiomes
This shows that you should make it a priority to spend time in nature or be connected to the outdoors — whether its 5 minutes versus 30 minutes or a whole day — you can walk around on the grass barefoot, shop at a farmer’s market, eat lunch outside, go hiking, skiing, spend a day at the beach or join a community garden.
Making it a routine to recognize nature by either turning your face to the sun, smelling a flower, or admiring a tree can have a positive influence on your mindset as well.
Sanitizing less sounds gross, right?
But bacteria and fungi should be thought of less like sickly germs and more like electrolytes or vitamins for our bodies.
In today’s western culture we busy ourselves with scrubbing our houses, Clorox-ing our sterile office desks, and applying hand sanitizers — believing we have control over the unfriendly germs.
Then why do we still get sick?
Because we are over-sterilizing our environment and our skin, part of our microbiome. This is not advocating for a dirty, messy home — but rather one where we stop purchasing antibacterial everything. Our hand soap, house cleaners, and even detergent are antibacterial.
This removes friendly bacteria from our environment, reducing our immunities. What will solve this? Cleaning with more environmentally-friendly products that don’t destroy bacteria.
This further proves that you can have a healthy, diverse gut microbiome and still have other microbiome issues — like with your skin.
Avoiding Antibiotics When Possible
Antibiotics have had a powerful influence on our society for the past 80 years, saving millions of lives by killing bad bacteria in our bodies.
But we are now starting to understand the harmful effects of antibiotics, and how they can alter our microbiome. Antibiotics are an effective tool to eliminate bad pathogenic bacteria — but they cannot discriminate between good and bad bacteria and attack both during use.
Antibiotics can completely wipe out and change our microbiome in this way. Even taking prebiotics or probiotics cannot counter this change.
And as much as antibiotics have diminished diseases, they have also increased microbial disease.
Just as we are quick to over-sanitize, we are also quick to use antibiotics. Antibiotics are not just prescribed by doctors. They are also used in the foods we eat and the products we use. Face wash, meats, and vegetables.
What can we do?
Making or buying the most natural sources of food, hygiene products and understanding the effects of prescriptions before taking them are all good ways to start. Focus on one, small actionable change instead of everything at once — even small changes can make a huge difference.
The Microbiome You Don’t Hear About
With increased indoor sterilized living spaces, use of antibiotics and pills, and social policy focused more on tariffs than protecting green space, it’s no wonder we have lost sight of the importance of good ole’ dirt and germs.
It has been made clear by many that “you are what you eat,” but what about everything else? Our environment? Food sources? Sterilization?
These outer sources have more influence on your microbiome and overall health than are being spoken for. With diet and exercise getting all the hype — it is important to remember that health is holistic. We as humans tend to think that we are separate from nature when we actually are nature itself.