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When you think of health what comes to mind? New fitness trends? The latest recipes or diets that include health oddities such as seaweed or Ghee? Certainly, nutrition and physical fitness are components within the bigger picture of health. However, a missing piece within that picture is your microbiome or gut health. Gut health is way more complex than we’d previously thought and affects many components of health.

The microbiome is composed of trillions of microbes that live mostly within the small and large intestines. According to the University of Washington an average person’s microbiome may collectively weigh up to 5 pounds. Each of these microbes have special jobs such as digesting or food, protection against other harmful bacteria, and regulating our immune system. Recent studies have also shown that the microbiome can affect brain health and influence different disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Research about nutrition and the microbiome is ever evolving however, there are some simple things you can incorporate within your routine to improve your gut health. A common method is to incorporate a prebiotic or a probiotic within your diet. These supplements help to promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. However not all supplements are high quality so you may want to consult your health care provider if you have any questions when choosing a supplement that is right for you. You can also incorporate fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickles within your diet. Fermented foods naturally contain different strains of prebiotics and probiotics. In addition consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables can also help to proliferate good bacteria within your gut. Many nutrients within fruits and vegetables decline overtime, therefore by eating seasonally you’ll most likely receive the full spectrum of nutrients from the food. Be on the lookout for these seasonal fruits and vegetables in March to improve your microbiome.