As those who’ve been following this blog and/or kept up-to-date on what’s going on in the world of health & medicine know, research over the last decade has made it clear that the number of microbial cells in our body vastly outnumber our human cells (the number cited is often 90% microbe vs. 10% human), and that these microbial inhabitants influence everything from our metabolism and digestion to brain function, mood, and behaviour.
This newfound appreciation for the roles played by the human microbiota in health and disease has triggered a lot of people to ask: How should I live my life to achieve a healthier microbiota?
To answer this question, we have to combine modern science with an evolutionary perspective on health and disease. For most of human evolution, antibiotics, highly processed foods, infant formulas, and hand sanitizers were nowhere to be found, all births were performed the way evolution intended, high levels of fermentable fiber were consumed every day, and all activities occurred in a microbe-rich, natural environment. While we can’t – and probably wouldn’t if we could – replicate a true hunter-gatherer lifestyle, we can adjust our lifestyle so it better matches that of our ancient forebears – without having to give up all of the comforts we enjoy about modern life.
I’ve previously discussed in-depth how a Western lifestyle impacts the microbiome, with a particular focus on diet, exposure to harmful substances, and microbial exposure. I’ve now taken the time to make an infographic that provides a broad overview of the information in this area.
Hopefully this infographic can help get more people interested in the microbiome and serve as a starting point for those who are looking for ways to achieve a healthier microbiota. If you have any friends or family who you think may find this helpful, please take the time to share it by using the sharing buttons below the post.