Getting back from my trip to Calgary, I was excited to see my Kombucha tea I have been working so hard on making at home. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Kombucha tea is a fermented tea, rich in healthy bacterias that support a healthy immune system. I have been educating myself day in and day out, on the importance of our gut bacterias and how it relates to our bodies health on a whole. I am excited to share my months of research with you in todays post..enjoy:)
We live in society plagued with chronic illness and disease, many of which western medicine has written off as incurable but controlled with a wide range of pharmaceuticals. As an answer to preventing the spread of germs, the centre of disease and control and prevention, urges us to become more aseptic; with hand washing and sanitation being the ultimate prevention to disease transmission (1). Although this is a great solution to preventing the spread of “infectious diseases”, throwing off the balance of healthy bacterias in the body, only increases the rate at which more chronic illnesses are arising, such as asthmas, fibromyalgia, chron’s, IBS and skin disorders, as well as many autoimmune diseases. Could it be possible with chronic illness and disease rising at the same rate as sanitation pumps in public facilities, that this could be the route of the problem (2)? If we look inwards at the incredible systems of the human body, rather then to our external environment, we may actually get some insight to the answers.
Our bodies are predominantly made up of bacteria; 10:1, bacteria to cells in the body. Exposing ourselves to bacteria regularly, actually allows our bodies immune system to thrive, especially during our early years as an infant or young child. A recent study in the medical journal for paediatrics found that “” infants living in households with dogs were healthier and had fewer ear infections”” (3). With developing immune systems, exposure to a wide range of germs can aid in the development of antibodies, ultimately creating a strong foundation of immunity against future microbe (bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoa) exposures. This in-turn helping to prevent the evolution of diseases that are on the rise. Early exposure to germs also plays a huge part in establishing a healthy microbiome (healthy gut bacteria), critical in developing a strong immune system early on.
While all this may sound great in the early years of life, what about later on as an adult? Again, our medical system prescribes antibiotics when we are sick. Although this is a solution to killing off nasty microbes, it also kills the healthy bacterias in the body that help our immune systems thrive. Really it is a double edged sword…the very internal system that fights off illness is compromised with our Western solution to the problem. If we work towards supporting our immune systems to work optimally, a virus may not even have the opportunity to thrive in the body. How can you do this?
- incorporate probiotics in your diet (found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, probiotic yogurts)
- eat more fruits and vegetables, a variety of colours everyday (helps to reduce inflammation in the body and ultimately supports immune system)
- reduce/eliminate sugar in the diet of all kinds (this inhibits the immune system)
- reduce/eliminate processed foods (promotes inflammation and reduces immune efficiency)
- drink more water! Natures detoxifier…helps with elimination of toxic buildup in the body
- reduce stress (try yoga, meditation, walking, taking time for yourself everyday to breath and not think)
- incorporate more Japanese mushrooms in the diet (reishi, shatakii), helps the immune system communicate
- get dirty! (don’t be afraid to expose yourself to germs..they will help to improve your immune system function)
(note: in facilitates such as hospitals, where people are already ill and immunocompromised, not hand washing could be detrimental to a patient)
So in a nutshell, we need not be afraid of germs..not all germs are created equal and in many cases germs actually promote healthy immune systems, so that we do not have to look to pharmaceuticals to heal our bodies. In fact our bodies can do a really incredible job of doing that themselves, when given the right tools.
Check out this interesting article from national geographic about the shift in our health: