This post was sponsored by Nestle Health Science.
Before you were even able to open your eyes for the first time, your body had already been invaded! By TRILLIONS of tiny microbes, which together make up something called your microbiome.
You microbiome exists all over your body, and inside your gut. These microbes are working hard everyday to keep you from getting sick, to help you digest your food, and even help to improve your mental health!
Scientists are learning more and more about the important impact these microbes have on our health. It seems that almost every day they discover a new benefit to having a strong and diverse microbiome, so it’s important that we take care of them. Let’s take a look at how our microbiomes change as we age:
As mentioned before, as soon as you’re born, microbes colonize your body. By the time infants are able to talk, their microbiome can already be built up of completely different colonies just from hand to hand. Doctors believe that children who are birthed vaginally have stronger microbiomes than those who are delivered via cesarean section. Why? because by skipping the trip through the birth canal, they miss being dosed with health-stimulated good bacteria that reside there – their mother’s “vaginal microbiome.” Further, breast milk contains a diverse population of bacteria, so breast feeding babies rather than formula feeding has been shown to help babies establish a healthy microbiome from the get-go.
By age three, a child’s microbiome looks a lot like an adults, and it becomes much more stable. As we grow, (thanks to modern-day immunizations) we benefit from being exposed to as many different types of bacteria as possible (except of course from pathogens derived from things like raw meat or disease). However, the more environments a child is exposed to, the more resilient and diverse their microbiome will become. So go ahead! Get outside, get messy and make mistakes!
As we start to get older, our microbiomes start to need a bit of a helping hand. For example, as we age and begin to rush through our busy lives, it becomes more and more difficult to make sure that we’re getting the fibre that we need. In fact, most Canadians have a lower than recommended fibre intake. But you see, not all fibres are created equal! Some fibres, are classified as ‘prebiotics.’
It’s super important to make sure that you’re getting enough prebiotic fibres daily. These fibres are actually fuel for the microbes that make up your microbiome and help to keep them strong and healthy! If you’re finding it difficult to eat enough dietary prebiotics, you can always pick up a fibre supplement. Keep in mind though, that not all fibres are prebiotics, however, all prebiotics are fibres! So when you’re selecting your supplement, make sure to look for the word ‘prebiotic’ on the bottle. We recommend FibreChoice, as they recently went through a successful peer-reviewed study.
As we move past adulthood and into the golden years, our microbiome ages with us. It becomes increasingly more and more important to ensure that your microbes are being fueled with enough prebiotics to keep their cultures alive. All those years of telling your kids and grandkids to eat their fruits and vegetables come back to haunt you, and it’s your turn to start making sure you’re consistently hitting your recommended daily intake of fibres. Below is a list of dietary prebiotics you should be including in your diet, along with a prebiotic supplement.
So, in conclusion, no matter what stage of your life you’re at, you need to be conscious of what you’re putting into your body. Making sure that your microbiome is well fed with dietary prebiotics and prebiotic supplements. The more you help your microbes, the more they will help you!