Surendra explores the importance of bacteria for our health, how they took detrimental blows through our lifestyle, antibiotics and ‘modern food’, and how to easily increase them to further well-being.
In our bodies, bacteria outnumber cells by ten to one. Understanding the part these microbes play in keeping us healthy is still in its infancy and down to pioneering researchers such as Drs Bush and Mercola (video). According to them, it is not about discouraging bad and encouraging good bacteria in our systems. Nothing is good, nothing is bad, it is all about balance. However, modern medical practice is yet to catch up with this concept. The universal use of antibiotics that indiscriminately target wide ranges of bacteria has, for many years, been destroying our ability to stay healthy.
Even more ubiquitous is the herbicide glyphosate that has been wiping out many of the bacteria in the soil around the world since the 1970s. Consequently, food crops cannot get the full range of nutrients they need and their ability to deliver nourishment to us is severely diminished. Adding injury to insult, glyphosate enters our bodies through the food chain and attacks our own bacteria, particularly those in the gut. This interferes with digestion and our absorption of food. Glyphosate has been associated with the growing incidence of a wide range of chronic diseases in our current population (see, for example, Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases VI: Prions, amyloidoses and autoimmune neurological diseases, Samsel & Seneff, Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, Mar 2017).
The USA seems most affected and that is the land with the most bloating use of GM crops and glyphosate. Dr Zach Bush, cited above, found that improvements in patients given an optimum, healthy diet full of superfoods were disappointing. He found more noticeable recovery by introducing, in addition to high quality food, ways of revitalising the bacteria in their gut. Much of what is written below should be accredited to Dr Bush.
Monoculture in farming, as opposed to crop rotation or growing mixed crops, further narrows the range of bacteria and micronutrients in the soil. It limits the nourishment available to the produce that is grown and thus curtails what is available to us. It seems that our bodies are crying out for a greater abundance and wider range of nutrients. Deliberately increasing our intake and variety of bacteria is one way to help. How can we do that? Manufactured probiotics and various nutritional supplements can be a start but they also have a very constricted range.
Eating fermented foods introduces a much greater mix of bacteria. We can buy naturally fermented soy sauce and miso, as opposed to concocted versions (check the labels to make sure). Tempeh can be bought or, made at home by the adventurous. We can also buy or make our own pickled cabbage, sauerkraut. Using Chinese leaves instead of traditional white cabbage introduces another option.
Another way to bring bacteria into our system is by interacting with nature, especially through breathing. Gardening without pesticides and chemical fertilisers can provide us with aesthetic pleasure, exercise and healthy food. Digging, weeding and planting also expose us to many different bacteria. Effective Micro-organisms (Ems) can be bought from garden centres in a concentrated solution. In addition to feeding plants and improving the quality of garden soil, there is another use for diluted Ems. Spraying it lightly indoors in any room will enliven the air we breathe. To economise you can use a small amount of this concentrate as a starter and ferment your own microorganism solution. For a simple guide on how to do this, check out the video ‘How to make Ems‘.
Walking and sitting in natural landscapes can be more relaxed ways of taking in diverse microbes. In fact, by choosing varied terrains, from forest to seaside, mountains to marshes, we can interact with huge ranges of bacteria. Most of us live in cities but can get out to the countryside from time to time. We can also usually find a park or recreation area within walking distance. In the well-kept ones, grass and flowerbeds are OK but might contain pesticides. Trees are usually a better choice and lounging against or sitting under one for a while will certainly boost those bacteria.
Overall, eating well and getting outdoors can do a lot to strengthen our immune system. On top of that, each one of us carries our own unique collection of bacteria. Hugging is a great way of sharing them and increasing microbe diversity among us all. A kiss on the cheek takes the interaction a little further and who knows where that might lead….
How the food you eat affects your gut
All articles by this author on Osho News