What if we told you that you’re only half human? Crazy right? Trust your gut here....
If you pay any attention to the world of wellness, you’ve definitely heard about the importance of gut health.
“There’s a community of 38,000,000,000,000 (that’s 38 trillion) microorganisms, mostly bacteria, living in and on your body. The majority of them reside in your gastrointestinal tract, [your gut] but many others live in diverse places like your mouth, your skin, and your armpits. They represent 50% of you by cell count. Collectively, the genes harbored in these trillions of microbial cells constitute your microbiome.”
The human body is often described as a microcosm of the universe. While it may sound like hippie-dippy logic, treating your body like the diverse ecosystem of the rainforest is actually a very accurate analogy.
“Like your genome, your microbiome is unique to you. And it’s changing, constantly. External factors like diet, exercise, medicine, and even sleep can all impact and alter the composition of your microbiome on a daily basis.”
As chefs, we’re borderline obsessed with creating food you eat, ingest and digest. Taste and presentation are definitely important to us. But, we deeply care about the overall wellbeing of the people who eat our creations. This means we also deeply care about their gut health.
We’ve always known that food greatly affects our function as human beings. (It’s no mystery that you feel different after polishing off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s than you do after enjoying a super fresh salad.) But, as the field of microbiology expands, more and more research is highlighting the importance of these microorganisms in the human body and the environment.
Eastern philosophy meets western science in the world of the microbiome.
Here’s a basic crash course from UC Davis for those of us who snoozed through our middle school biology class.
All of the food you enjoy is broken down in your gut into a simple form that enters the bloodstream. It’s then delivered as nutrients throughout our bodies. The waste products of this digestive practice are then, well, wasted and, um, disposed of (get the picture?).
However this process is only possible with a healthy digestive system. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells (hello microbiome). A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being.
So, these little organisms that live in your gut and make up half of the cells in your body essentially talk to your brain. They can and directly affect how you feel physically and emotionally. It’s no wonder research in the field is rapidly expanding and wellness companies are using “gut health” as their latest marketing tagline.
Whew! Okay, thats a lot to take in. We’ll let you digest this information for now (lol). In upcoming weeks we’ll dive into how diet affects your microbiome, what role probiotics play in the big picture, and how everything from your energy levels to your mood and (yes) your poop is affected by what you put in your body.