The 4 Microbiomes That Keep You Healthy (And How to Best Support Them)

Youíve heard of the microbiome. Itís that vast world of bacteria that calls your body Ďhome.í And there arenít just millions of them. Not even just billions. There are trillions!

The bacteria in our microbiome actually outnumber the cells in our body. Like it or not, we are in a very symbiotic relationship with our bacteria. You’ve probably heard how the bacteria in your gut have a powerful say in what foods you crave and how much you eat. It’s a constant give and take. The foods we eat, our colonies of intestinal bacteria and our overall health are intrinsically linked. But did you know that the human microbiome goes well beyond the gut? Here are a few of the areas of your body with the most bacterial density and why they are so important:

Your gut

Letís do a brief recap of all the wonderful things your gut bacteria do. They decide how your body uses energy (and if you should store energy as fat). They give you cravings and affect your hormones. They affect mood, depression and the development of disorders like schizophrenia, OCD and ADHD. They influence the immune system, strengthening or paving the way for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. These critters are powerful. For these reasons, it is important to eat a low-sugar, high-fiber plant-based diet in order to ensure that all the good critters continue to thrive and keep you healthy.

Related: What is a Microbiome? (and 5 Ways to Keep Yours Healthy)

Your skin

This may sound icky, but your skin is crawling with bacteria. The good news is that most of†these bacteria are good. Hooray! But when less desirable bacteria plant their grimy little flags, that’s when the problems start. Widespread skin conditions like psoriasis and acne are strongly controlled by the health of your skinís microbiome.†Keeping certain colonies in check†is incredibly important because your skin is your first line of defense in the world. When your skin bacteria are balanced, the skin is soft, hydrated and even. But certain soaps, especially antibacterial soaps, can strip your skin of good critters, leaving a vacuum in which any bacteria could thrive, wanted or unwanted. Stop using antibacterials and use regular soap on your skin only when necessary. Our skin comes with naturally protective oils, so cleaning that off with a daily suds leaves it very vulnerable.

Related: 6 Reasons to Stop Using Antibacterial Soaps Now

Your vagina

If you have a vagina, know that it is ruled by a very delicate balance of bacteria. This is why maintaining a healthy vaginal pH is so important. The vagina is naturally slightly acidic, and the bacteria that live there thrive in those conditions. When the vagina becomes too acidic or too basic, those healthy bacteria can no longer thrive and become imbalanced. This can lead to unpleasantries like yeast infections, UTIs and sexual discomfort. Keep your vagina pH-balanced by avoiding douches, avoiding scented tampons, washing with warm water only and avoiding soaps that arenít balanced specifically for vaginal use.

Your blood

Critters in your blood too? Yes, viruses. But whatís interesting is that some of these viruses may actually be playing a supportive role in our immune system. Researchers are currently studying the suspected role of viruses in immune function. There is a light and dark side to everything.

Your microbiome is undeniably important, so show it some love. Take a quality probiotic. Invest in a gentle, pH-balanced soap. Eat a wholesome, plant-based diet that limits sugar. You have trillions of creatures working hard to support your health. The least you can do is support them in return.

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82 comments

Ingrid H
Ingrid H4 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jessica K
Jessica K8 days ago

In a sense, the human body is the ecosystem for a whole planet of life forms. Maybe protecting the environment includes this biome as well. Thanks.

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Amanda M
Amanda M8 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M8 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Paulo R
Paulo R8 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R8 days ago

ty

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Ruth S
Ruth S8 days ago

Thanks.

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Angela G
Angela G8 days ago

thanks

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Janis K
Janis K8 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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