The Economist is not a usual source of health information, but a recent article offers a substantial and valuable insight into our well-being. The article describes the various functions of the microbes - bacteria and other microbes living harmoniously within a healthy body – we refer to as “probiotics”. They provide nourishment, vitamins, and protection from infection. We know that a disruption of the gut flora is associated with diseases ranging as far afield as obesity, autism, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.
Theoretically we know this but what if we really KNEW this, that the 10 trillion cells that make up your human body are completely dependent on the 100 (that's right: one HUNDRED) trillion microbes living within. For health, for existence, for nutrition.
How would we live differently?
We would cherish those cells, our microbial body, by eating a rich variety of foods - fibrous, fermented, and fresh - and we would send some of their cousins down the hatch for a visit - from yogurt, kombucha, kim chee and sauerkraut, and we would refrain from assaulting them with antibiotics and aggressive hand sanitizers ... unless absolutely necessary, which is such a small proportion of the time.
Healthy respect for our microbiome is a proper stance, mingled with curiosity and an open mind. The future will hold many more clues as to our symbiotic harmony with our bugs.