With the plethora of studies linking poor gut health to a myriad of diseases we’ve become familiar with the concept that the human microbiome (the collective population of all the non-human cells that inhabit us) is a crucial part of the ecosystem that keeps you and I healthy and happy. We also know that these microbes are not invaders or freeloaders but in fact crucial facilitators of our basic body functions including digesting food, producing vitamins and keeping the immune system buoyant.
It turns out our daily environment also hosts a diverse population of bacteria and other organisms and these microbes greatly influences out bodily microbiome as well, nowhere being more influential than our home.
Ways to create a healthy biome in your home
If you look around your house and see antibacterial soap, antibacterial spray, antibacterial cleaning wipes and a myriad of disinfecting cleaning products, chances are you’re living in an environment that’s been stripped of its beneficial bacteria. There is research connecting kids growing up in overly sterile and clean environments being linked to issues like allergies, autoimmune conditions and gut related disorders.
Where possible use natural soaps and detergents and use disinfectant products as sparingly as possible.
Get a pet
Household pets broaden our exposure to bacteria in a good way. Interestingly, having a pet is correlated with reduced rates of asthma and allergies in children. Obviously it’s a big commitment to own a pet but if you were considering it anyway, knowing the added health benefits apart from companionship may help you choose.
Bring some plants inside
The leaves and soil of house plants bring beneficial bacteria and viruses into the home as well as help improve indoor air quality. If you needed any more convincing, an interesting study by Melbourne University researchers found that having 5 indoor plants in the home was enough to significantly boost mental wellbeing.
So with your home environment sorted don’t forget to keep nourishing your internal microbiome with a diet loaded with nutrient rich and fermented foods as your internal and external microbiome support each other.