The Importance of Protecting our Microbiome
BY: AMY WILSON
Adjusting to the “new norm” of COVID-19 has led to a drastic increase in hygiene practices. To protect our health, businesses and organizations are following protocols and adhering to recommendations made for our safety. Unfortunately, a lot of these hygiene practices include harsh disinfectants and chemicals that kill off our natural microflora. While we still learn about this emerging new disease, it is definitely important that we take all measures to protect ourselves and others. However, to keep ourselves safe, it is also vitally important that we keep our immune system strong. In order to do this, we must protect our natural microflora.
Humans are naturally home to trillions of beneficial bacteria of an immense variety, that make up our microbiome. These bacteria live both on us, and in our digestive tract, protecting us and keeping us healthy. Antibacterial products, such as the ones used for disinfecting, are a threat to our natural microbiome.
I am in no way saying stop using strong antibacterial products during this time. Instead, I am suggesting we take into consideration ways in which to implement practices that will balance some of the adverse effects of the chemicals we are using to disinfect and clean. So, until we fully understand transmission of COVID-19, let’s remember the basics that will help protect our microflora.
The gut is #1
Protecting our digestive tract is fundamental in caring for your internal microflora. When your digestive tract is healthy, it helps your microbiome flourish, and in turn, works to keep your immunity strong. Here are some considerations to implement when thinking of the overall health of your digestive tract.
- Reduce stress. Stress is incredibly taxing on the health of your digestive system. Pay close attention to your stress levels and be sure to fully address them in a way that works best for you. Slowing down and taking a few deep breaths in a time of elevated stress can be incredibly helpful and allow the body to reduce its output of cortisol.
- Consider taking a probiotic. A good quality probiotic may restore balance to your gut and introduce healthy new flora.
- Drink bone broth. Bone broth is very beneficial for your intestines. It can help strengthen the integrity of your gut, and is a rich source of nutrients that can help your immune system stay strong.
- Add collagen to smoothies or hot beverages. Collagen helps to repair tissues, including the lining of your digestive tract.
- Cut out refined sugars. A lot of not-so-beneficial bacteria strains flourish in the presence of refined sugars, which can allow them to grow out of balance with the rest of the microbiome. Replace these foods with fruits and vegetables that will feed and help your healthy bacteria thrive.
Remember to get outside
Find yourself in nature more often. Being in nature will not only reduce stress levels, but can also have a positive impact on your microbiome. Breathing in fresh air, and being close to trees, dirt and water, can increase the diversity of your microbiome.
Adjusting hygiene practices
- When in the safety of your home, use good hand washing techniques with natural soaps, and save the alcohol-based/antimicrobial disinfecting for when you are out in public.
- Make at-home cleaning supplies that are effective and safe for you and the environment. Homemade cleaning products are typically very simple and effective, and can be a fun project, that can also save you money in the long run.
Health officials and scientists are working hard to narrow down the most effective hygiene protocols to keep us safe. The information at times can be confusing. What is clear, is the importance of preventative health measures, and staying on top of our health at all times, to keep us strong and safe!
Take care out there!
XO Amy Wilson