We usually consider ourselves as single living human beings but scientists are now encouraging us to expand this thought and appreciate our bodies as homes to a huge range of microscopic organisms. GM stands for Gut Microbioata, a term to describe all the microbes living in our gut.
What are they?
Bacteria are the microbes we most commonly associate with being in our gut but there are also fungi, viruses and parasites which collectively make up our GM.
What do they do?
The roles played by the GM are so widespread this is really a blog (or 3) of its own. They are responsible for the production of key chemical compounds in our bodies such as hormones, amino acids and vitamins, they enhance our immune system and influence the gut’s motility and overall function. They also play a vital role in the communication link between our gut and our brain.
Diversity is key
Your gut needs a wide range of these different microbes to function effectively. It has been shown in numerous studies that the more diverse your GM the greater not only your physical health but also your mental health.
Everyone of us has a different GM. Even if the type of microrganisms are similar, the way in which they interact with the cells in the gut is unique to us. This means that there can be no ideal formula to follow and that we must find our own balance to enhance our GM.
Nurturing your GM
Given the importance of GM for leading a healthy, happy life the good news is that there are some simple things we can do to optimise it. Studies have shown that environment is more influential than genetics so you really can take action and nurture your GM rather than relying on what nature provided you with. Welcoming a high level of plants and fibre into your diet is the most reliable way to boost GM. Crucially it is not only the amount of plants you are eating though but the variety that matters. So, if in doubt think of eating as many different colours as possible every day.
For further advice on enhancing your GM you could try a Nurture Nutrition Programme.