18 Ways to Improve Your Microbiome Health in 2018
Here are our 18 tips for developing a healthy human microbiome in 2018! These are tips, tricks and habits from our life that have fostered a diverse, thriving, and nourished microbiome. This guide will introduce you to new diets and creative ways to start improving your gut microbiome right away!
Use this resource as a guide to loving and improving your microbiome this new year!
1. Alcohol is not the best for your gut health
A glass of wine every now and then is perfectly fine for health... but multiple beverages for multiple days in a row destroys the microbiome. Try to limit alcohol consumption, and only drink naturally made, naturally flavored beverages.
2. Artificial Colors Flavors and Preservatives
Artificial colors and preservatives are chemicals that can wage war on a healthy microbiome. Artificial preservatives are especially bad for microbiome health since their sole purpose is the stop the growth of microbes. Cutting out artificial ingredients in foods is one of the best things you can do for microbiome health.
3. Your microbiome can do without processed sugar
Processed sugar is no good for microbiome health and overall wellness. Too much sugar leads to skin issues and gut issues. Processed sugar can select for a yeast dominated microbiome, and too much yeast leads to a plethora of digestive inflammatory diseases, eczema, and chronic inflammatory skin problems. Instead use maple syrup, agave or honey to lightly sweeten things.
4. Antibiotics can take a toll on microbiome health
Antibiotics become less effective at killing pathogenic microbes everyday. When you take antibiotics, your good microbes suffer. Your microbiome can become seriously unbalanced after a course of antibiotics. Only take them if you absolutely need to, and if you do always supplement with wild fermented vegetables.
5. Too much protein, too much dairy
Eating meat and dairy at every meal wreaks havoc on the microbiome. Most humans eat way more protein than necessary, and that selects for certain, not so great microbes in the gut. Good microbes prefer lots of plant fiber. Also, humans aren't baby cows. Cow milk isn't meant for us or our gut microbiome. Try eating more plants this year. I'm not saying to not eat meat at all, but less meat and more plant fiber = healthy happy gut microbes. There are two cookbooks we love that can help you create delicious plant dominated meals: This Rawsome Vegan Cookbook and How Not To Die.
6. Skin Care
You have a skin microbiome too. Lathering your body in preservative laden soaps and lotions destroys a healthy skin microbiome. Try switching to natural, preservative free skin care and hygiene products. We use Sapovela. Also get outside, go to the farmers market and try gardening... being outdoors is the BEST for skin microbiome health.
7. Other Medications
A lot of medications can disrupt a healthy microbiome. Eczema steroid cream, blood pressure medicine, mental health medication etc. If you are on a necessary medication it is important to supplement with probiotic and prebiotic foods (like fermented vegetables).
8. Poor air quality from candles and air fresheners
If you want a healthy microbiome in 2018, throw out the chemical packed, artificial fragranced candles and air fresheners. Instead, consider getting an essential oil diffuser. Essential oils are natural plant based oils that smell great and have medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Our Holiday Gift guide has other great ideas too!
9. Get a water filter
Drinking tons of chlorine from tap water everyday doesn't promote microbiome health. However, drinking water from plastic bottles is not good for the environment. Get a water filter for your home, or a water filter pitcher to store in the fridge. It's the most eco friendly way to stay hydrated without all the chemicals.
10. Get some house plants
Adding a pothos ivy or some ferns to your bedroom can do wonderful things for air quality, which is great for the sinus cavity microbiome. House plants can detoxify chemicals from the air and even add moisture and oxygen back to the air keeping you and your microbes nice and healthy. This is a great guide book on how to choose, grow and care for houseplants.
11. THINX and Lunette Menstrual Cup
Women have an extra, very important microbial community: the vaginal microbiome. GMO, glycophosphate soaked cotton tampons and pads can destroy the microbiome, cause bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, Toxic Shock Syndrome, and even vaginal cancers. Switch to a cleaner more eco friendly menstrual routine by using THINX underwear or a menstrual cup. I've had a Lunette Menstrual Cup for three years now and my vagina has never been healthier.
Your armpits have a special microbiome all their own. Conventional deodorant absolutely destroys the healthy armpit microbiome. I only have one suggestion here: Switch to Primal Pit Paste. It smells wonderful, is all natural and it actually works, they even have a baking soda free version. It's the only natural deodorant that doesn't make me itch and keeps both Scotty and I from smelling bad.
Juicing is great for microbiome health. Don't juice fast though... Because you will deprive your gut microbiome from the fiber it needs to flourish. Instead incorporate high quality vegetable based juices with a healthy morning breakfast. Trader Joes Cold pressed Juice is our favorite... mostly because it's a cold pressed juice we can actually afford. We also have this juicer, and at home we juice lots of celery, cucumber and carrot...we even save the juicer pulp and ferment it or put it in bread.
14. Vegetable Spiralizer
Literally the only way to eat tons of raw veggies. because chopping is tedious and annoying. We try to be 80% raw vegan in our household because raw vegetables provide the best source of prebiotic fiber to the gut microbiome. Without a spiralizer it wouldn't be possible.
Apple cider vinegar y'all. And no, I'm not going to suggest drinking it. I will suggest lathering your body and hair in a dilution of it! Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother introduces some great microbes to the skin and hair that can help balance and diversify the skin microbiome. ACV diluted in mint green tea is my main secret to how I cured my eczema. (A full blog post on this topic is on the way!)
16. Chaga, Maca and Spirulina
Our must have "superfood powders" that we never run out of. We mix spirulina into our matcha lattes for an even more nutritious boost. Maca is a wonderful hormone balancer that helps with stress (and stress is terrible for the microbiome). Chaga is a type of mushroom that we drink in a tea that has tremendous health benefits... It is packed with beta glucan, one of the main prebiotics that feeds the bacteria of the gut microbiome.
A lot of people are still focused on getting skinny this new year. Exercise is so important for microbiome health and overall wellness, but what's more important than that is focusing on mental health. Stress is the number one killer of good bacteria in the microbiome, behind antibiotics. Try out yoga for mental health, meditation and an excellent workout. We suggest Yoga With Adrienne. She's easy to understand and follow, and she is an amazing yoga guru.
18. Natural Cycles
Best thing I did for my microbiome in 2017? Quit taking hormonal birth control. Sure, when I stopped my body freaked out, my hair fell out a little, I was depressed, sick, and I thought I was going insane. Cutting that medication out of my life was 100% the right choice. Hormonal birth control has serious side effects and causes detrimental damage to the microbiome and body. This year, there's even been published peer reviewed research showing a link to hormonal birth control and female reproductive organ cancers. Hormonal birth control raises the pH of the vagina, making a balanced and healthy vaginal microbiome difficult or impossible. I switched to using Natural Cycles.