We’re all washing our hands relentlessly. We’re hand-sanitizing every time we touch a shopping cart or door handle. We’re disinfecting every floor, tabletop, and toy in our homes. We’re all doing everything we can to stop the spread of germs, microbes, and viruses from the things we come into contact with each and every day.
And all that cleaning — usually with antibacterial products — is doing just what it’s designed to do: killing off the bad bacteria that can make us sick. But it’s also harming the good bacteria in our bodies that keep us healthy and help our immune systems fight off sickness.
That’s because antibacterial cleaners and soaps don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria. They’re anti…bacterial. They target and eliminate all bacteria. Many popular soaps, hand sanitizers, and household cleaning and disinfectant products (and even many toothpastes) contain powerful antibacterial compounds that are disrupting the balance of good and bad bacteria (gut flora or microbiota) in our gut ecosystems (microbiome).
You see, our microbiome is made up of trillions of bacterial cells, which are like tiny instruction manuals that our immune system uses to protect us. These beneficial bacterial cells are mostly in our gastrointestinal tract (where 70% of our immune system resides), but they’re also in our lungs, mouth, and other parts of the body. And this proper balance of microbiota doesn’t just affect our body’s own natural defense system, it can also affect our metabolism, weight, mood, digestion, and much more.
So, the more you clean, disinfect, sanitize, or lather with soap, the more you need to rebuild, replenish, and rebalance your gut microbiome with good bacteria.
Here are 6 simple tips for keeping your gut’s ecosystem as healthy as possible, so your immune system can run on all cylinders:
#1 Eat more probiotic-rich and fermented foods, such as yogurt, cheese, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
#2 Take probiotic supplements that replenish the gut microbiome.
#3 Eat more plant-based foods that contain prebiotics, such as bananas, asparagus, chicory, garlic, onions, oatmeal, apples, and barley.
#4 Avoid highly processed foods.
#5 Avoid taking antibiotics unless medically necessary.
#6 Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. (Poor sleeping habits can have negative effects on your gut microbiota.)
Antibacterial products are one of the most effective means we have of keeping our homes and our bodies free of dangerous and unhealthy germs. Just don’t forget to keep your gut microbiome as strong and healthy as possible.
Stay positive! We’ll all get through this together. Let me know the ways you’re staying safe during this pandemic on my Facebook page!
~ Dr. Pedre & Your NatureM.D. Wellness Team