A key source of noise that affects our emotional, mental, physical, and potentially our spiritual wellbeing is the state of our microbiome, also known as our gut health. It can affect our moods, contribute to brain fog, and cause physical discomfort and autoimmune issues.
This isn’t new news. But, for most of us, it’s hard to parse through the endless top ten lists for improving gut health.
So, let’s try a different approach. Let’s look at four areas of focus and reason why it’s important from an evolutionary perspective:
- Manage stress before it becomes chronic: stress has been given a bad rap. Our response to stressors has kept humans alive since the inception of our species. Things fall apart, however, when the stress becomes chronic, and we can’t recover and return to homeostasis. Chronic stress adversely affects the diversity and composition of our gut bacteria. Getting a proper night’s sleep is one of the best investments in giving our bodies the rest and recovery it needs to manage stress levels.
- Eat well: we haven’t evolved eating artificial sweeteners, or highly processed foods. Our gut was shaped by eating a diverse spectrum of whole foods, promoting healthy gut bacteria. This included both probiotics (foods containing various healthy bacteria) and prebiotics (foods that feed the various bacteria in our gut). Getting back to basics (yes, foods like what our grandparents may have eaten) provides great direction for a clean diet.
- Minimize antibiotics: full spectrum antibiotics are not only overprescribed, but they are found in much of our livestock. In fact, antibiotics used in animals are more than the amount prescribed to humans. Despite the incredible benefits we’ve received from antibiotics, we haven’t evolved with antibiotics. Full spectrum antibiotics can do serious harm to the balance of good to bad bacteria in the gut. This disequilibrium can cause a host of problems! We need to be much more discerning of what we eat and why we’re prescribed antibiotics.
- Be wary of an aseptic environment: throughout our history we’ve been exposed to bacteria (both good and bad). Early in life, exposure to bacteria helps train our immune system and promotes a stronger gut microbiome. In nature a little exposure can create the adaptive response needed for greater resilience to more nasty things down the road.
Often the answer for how we should live lies in how we were designed. As we’ve seen, good gut health needn’t be complex. The rewards for a little discipline can be life-changing and definitely noise canceling.
And when in doubt…
Pause. Breathe, And Quiet the NOISE.