There are 3 simple things you can do for your microbiome today, and you probably would not have considered any of them.
I recently shared about the microbiome, as it’s a growing topic for both research and discussion. In the post, one of the topics surrounding the gut microbiome is how environment affects the microbiome, and it’s within this topic where you’ll find the 3 simple things you can do for your microbiome today.
During my time spent with Kiran Krishnan we did, of course, discuss food and diet as it relates to the microbiome, but he went into many things beyond food which was fascinating.
This was one.
He said, “Most people don’t know it, but there are actually 3 simple things you can do for your microbiome today.”
I replied, “Do tell. What are they?”
Give hugs more often, have a dog, and re-evaluate your house cleaning products.
3 Simple Things You Can Do for Your Microbiome Today
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I wish Kiran and I would have gotten into full detail on all 3, but we didn’t. I’ll share with you exactly what he did tell me and then anything else I have found in my research, as it relates to it.
That’s right, give hugs more often. The idea behind this one is that we are able to transmit our gut microbiota through physical interaction. “During seasons when the chimps were more sociable, their microbiomes started to converge. And the most sociable individuals, those who spent most time grooming, touching, or otherwise hanging out with their peers, had the richest diversity of species in their guts.” (source)
The NIH states, “Although humans do not engage in social grooming, we physically interact through socially acceptable activities such as hand shaking, hugging and kissing, the frequency and intimacy of which increase as an individual interacts with a close family member or friend compared with a stranger. Thus, there is likely to be several social and cultural factors that contribute to the transmission of our intestinal microbiota.”
Make note that this means hugging people with healthy gut microbiomes. Did you know we all carry our own, unique microbial cloud and that we bring it with us wherever we go? I learned that from Kiran, too, but you’ll find the fact HERE.
Giving hugs brings a whole new meaning to, “health is contagious.”
Have a dog
Not only does Kiran say you should have a dog, but he also says that said dog should sleep in your bed. Now listen, I have been straight begging my husband to get me another little Fiona. It’s time. In just a few more days, it will have been 2 years since she left the Earth, and I’m ready for one of her again. And so, I know when he reads this he’s going to think, “You are the queen of justifications.” He’s right; I am the queen of justifications, but I promise on my life that Kiran truly told me this one. So, icing on the cake?!
Anyways, even The New York Times has reported on and asked the question, “Are Dogs the New Probiotic?”
“Dogs roll in the mud. They sniff feces and other questionable substances. Then they track countless germs into our homes on their paws, snouts and fur.” Sounds gross enough, right? The idea, though, is that we have become so afraid of germs and bacteria that we have become too clean for our own good. “Jack Gilbert, the director of the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago, said that the Amish suffer from fewer immune-related illnesses than the rest of us because they grow up with their livestock and the bacteria they host, as our human predecessors did for thousands of years.”
It’s not just young children who benefit, either. UBiome reported, “Just as fascinating, and perhaps already a candidate for one of the year’s most heart-warming ideas, is a current Arizona study that’s exploring whether dogs can directly improve the health of older people.
They’ve adopted unwanted dogs from the Humane Society, then given them to people over 50 who’ve either never owned a dog, or who haven’t had one for a while.
They’re then monitoring the physical and mental health of both owner and dog.
Their theory is that good bacteria from the dogs may be transferred to their new owners, along with other health-boosting benefits.”
Totally not making this one up. So, Ryan, about that dog I’ve been begging for?!
Re-evaluate your house cleaning products
And last, but not least, all those house cleaning products should be looked at. Here is where I am the worst – I fully admit it! We do such a good job with our food and diet (especially now that I know the importance of variety) and also with the personal care items (skincare and makeup, kid’s products, and even tampons), but I still need a lot of work on the house cleaning products.
This one doesn’t surprise me because of all my research with personal care item chemicals, yet I haven’t fully researched it yet. But honestly, the research is there: Babies living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers (source), and regular use of house cleaning products can be as damaging as smoking a pack a day (source).
The EWG reports all about cleaning supplies and your health HERE. I really need to get it together on this one.
And there you have it….the 3 simple things you can do for your microbiome today. Questions?
You will heal. I will help.