The gut microbiome consists of trillions of live microbes which work every day to ensure our health is ship shape for all modern life encounters. And of course, when we say live we really do mean ALIVE. These microbes - in our gut - are not static, and as we go about our daily tasks, our microbes do too.
Research is recognising that the gut microbiome is influenced by many external factors such as: what you eat, levels of stress, what animals you are exposed to, how much you exercise, antibiotic usage and social interactions. But what about the changes in the seasons and how that can affect your microbiome?
Recent studies on the microbiomes of hunter-gatherers suggest that the variation in their microbiome is impacted by the changing seasons. This research was carried out on the Hadza people of western Tanzania. They are one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer tribes giving us an insight as to what the human microbiome has looked like throughout history and their microbiomes are found to be much more diverse than the modern-day human. The Hadza diet varies with more meat in the dry season and more foraging in the wet season for berries and honey. Their microbiomes were shown to be a lot more diverse during the wet season with Bacteroidetes being more abundant as they thrive on plant based foods. However, during the dry season, these bacteria drop and Actinobacteria increase; these bacteria process fats.
The idea that your gut microbiome alters depending on the change of season is a new twist in microbial research. But as we head into Autumn, there are plenty of options to help live more within the season to support your gut microbiome these Autumn months and all year round.
Eat with the season
As easy as it is to walk into a supermarket and grab your favourite fruit and veg, eating out of season isn't great for your gut. Produce grown out of season has lower levels of nutrients and higher levels of harmful substances, like lectin. Seasonal produce is grown with less human assistance, and fewer pesticides and genetical modifications. Try and change your diet with the season, like the Hadza tribe, and support your gut microbes, local farmers and your planet. Foods to eat in Autumn include: squash, artichokes, broccoli, leeks, pumpkins, apples, pears, plums, blackberries and elderberries. Try some of these gut healthy Autumnal recipes: Plum and cherry crumble cake by Nourished Naturally http://thenourishednaturally.co.uk/recipes/plum-cherry-crumble-cake/ Spiced Butternut Squash and Cumin Soup with Crunchy Sweet Potato Croutons by Hollyâs Wholesome Kitchen https://hollyswholesomekitchens.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/oct-2017.pdf
According to recent data, Brits spend 92% of their time indoors. Spending more time outdoors, whatever the season, has a huge impact on your gut microbiome and increases your microbial diversity by exposing you to all kinds of different/seasonal bacteria. Studies have also shown that spending more time outdoors can also help lower stress levels.
Pay attention to seasonal light cues
Getting a good night's sleep is vital for our health and overall wellbeing. The average person spends one third of their life asleep. That is 229,961 hours in a lifetime, totalling 9,582 days! It is becoming more evident that both the gut and brain are connected and when the trillions of microbes within your gut are balanced, this microbial ecosystem works in harmony with the rest of your body and its cells. For example, serotonin a.k.a the 'happy hormone' is a well-known brain transmitter and 90% of the body's serotonin is made within the gut. Serotonin helps regulate mood and improves sleep quality. By following seasonal light cues and being aware of the shift in natural light, your microbes can follow their circadian rhythm and get a higher quality level of sleep, so you do too.
Change is a constant in all our lives and when it comes down to a change in season, we should be giving the trillions of microbes within our gut microbiome a helping hand to adapt to the new season and weather conditions. So, as well as these tips try including our microbz good gut range. This unique effective probiotic has 5 billion live bacteria per serving (10-20ml) and is made with 15 families of carefully selected beneficial microbes along with over 50 juices, herbs and minerals to help support and boost your immune system and restore your digestive health - naturally