Over the past few years I’ve grown increasingly obsessed with the microbiome — the balanced ecosystem of gut bacteria that exist in your digestive tract which serve as your body’s “second brain,” and the #1 most important determinant of good health. I’ve written numerous articles highlighting the critical importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome, but nothing can ever top the power of visualization so allow the following two facts to sit in your head for a moment. We always consider our skin to be our biggest exposure to the molecules, toxins, and elements of the outside world, right? Well, if you were to unfold your skin and measure its surface area it would only come to approximately 2 square meters. But if you unfolded the 30-feet of your digestive tract, as well as the tissue that makes up the microscopic villi hairs that line your intestines, it would be a surface area equivalent to at least two tennis courts. Your digestive tract is the most exposed part of your body to the environment around you.
Now take into consideration the fact that the thousands of different varieties of gut bacteria that live in your intestines (100 trillion of them, or approximately 3 pounds worth in weight) each have their own unique DNA. By comparison, your own cells only have one specific DNA — the same one copied over and over again in each cell. That means if you compare the amount of DNA in your body that is yours vs. the amount of DNA in your body that belongs to all those microbes, your own DNA would be the equivalent volume of your big toe — the rest of your body’s volume would be filled with all the other DNA belonging to your gut bacteria. These two facts help put into context just how vital a healthy microbiome is to your overall health.
As much as I write about this topic, I still continue to learn more and more. Last night, for example, I had a major a-ha moment when I came across a lecture by Ben Warren, one of New Zealand’s leading nutritionists and holistic health experts. His 58-minute lecture entitled “Ben Warren’s Top 10 Tips For A Healthy Gut” (first in the videos below) had me hanging on every word, and there were moments when my jaw had fully dropped. One of those moments came when Ben tells the story of what happened to him on a golf course when an anonymous woman came up to him and within seconds had told him, “I watched you swing your club and I can tell you have a bad back, and I can see with my own eyes that it’s connected to an issue in your gut.” That golf course conversation was a moment that changed the course of Ben’s life forever. Do yourself a huge favor and watch the video to see what happened next.
For more amazingness from Ben Warren be sure to visit his mothership at BePure.co.nz, follow him on Facebook, and watch all of his extraordinary videos on his YouTube Channel. You can also read two terrific interviews with Ben Warren at Fitness Journal and MindFood. I’ve attached a few other microbiome goodies at the bottom of this post, but don’t miss out on the incredible information in video #1 just below.
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