Germs - Friend or Foe?

Germs get a lot of bad press and are often avoided, with many of us going to great lengths to prevent germs from spreading.

Did you know that, despite our fears, germs are beneficial to our health and immunity?

Germs and gut health:

Gut health is a very hot topic and many studies have been conducted into the role of our microbiota ( the community of bugs, including bacteria, that live in our intestine) in health and immunity. One study, found that we need to increase and strengthen our natural microbiota to improve our immunity to disorders, allergies and intolerance's.

Around one-third of our microbiota is the same in all individuals. and the remaining two-thirds are unique to each individual. Exposure to germs, especially as infants, helps to build gut microbiota which act like an army preventing invasions from infections.

The good news is we can also nurture our gut heath by making small changes to the food we eat. Rather than eating sugary foods, opt for fibre rich foods instead – such a fruit, these are not only better for our waist line but allow for better microbes to grow in the gut. Protect your natural barriers by lowering the amount of saturated fat you consume and increase your Omega 3 and polyunsaturated fats intake instead. Some great Omega 3 rich foods include; Salmon, mackerel, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. 

Probiotics and fermented foods can assist with maintaining good gut health and increasing that mucosal layer that lines out stomach. The thicker this layer is, the less likely we are to experience food intolerance's, this is because less harmful pathogens can enter the gut lining. 

Tip: Try some sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha for some gut health goodness.

Allergies/immunity:

Allergies are usually developed at a young age, and in some cases can be linked to the lack of exposure to different bacteria's.  Our obsession with using the hand-sanitiser every time we touch something foreign, can do more harm than good; we remove the bodies ability the fight harmful bacteria and therefore reduce our immunity as a response.

Keeping up your basic hand-washing routine without the sanitiser will help you stay clear of bad bacteria and germs without compromising your immune system.

Germs and stress:

What if we told you that those who have greater exposure to germs are less likely to be stressed?

The gut has a direct link to the brain via the the “gut-brain axis”. This allows the gut to send and receive signals to and from the brain. Studies are discovering the link between gut microbiota and stress levels. With a clear link between poor gut health and increase anxiety and depression.

So, put down the wipes, get your hands dirty and start building your army of belly bacteria.

Let the germs run free!