There's one typically overlooked perspective when people talk about health–particularly when talking about gut health, and the microbiome.
A healthy diet, probiotics, fermented foods and food diversity are, of course, extremely important. As is the avoidance of being overly sanitized, or the unnecessary and overuse of antibiotics.
Look, you undoubtedly understand all of this but from my point of view, one thing that isn't talked about enough is our interactions with the natural environment.
We know it's good to get outside more but did you know that environmental microbes are so specific that they help you literally adapt to where you live. As the microbiologist, Kiran Krishnan explains, there are even examples of populations that can eat certain foods because they're exposed to environmental microbes. We evolved with these microbes in nature. It's part of who we are.
As Dr. Maya Shetreat says in this clip, “Our bodies recognize the absence of those things because nature is literally foundational to our well being.”
So get outside more. Interact with your natural environment. And don't be afraid to get dirty!
Kiran Krishnan: 00:00
So when we're looking at people that live in these zones where they tend to live over the age of 100 years old, they tend to live much longer than in most western populations. What's really interesting is that they all have their own varied diets and lifestyles. Um, they, you know, if you take one of them from one place and implant them in another place, they probably won't do as well. The commonality between all of them is there, is there a insistence on interacting closely with their environment and not separating themselves from their environment like we do today.
Dr. Maya Shetreat: 00:31
We've sanitized our lives in many ways. Um, and we've done it in, you know, with antibiotics, we've done it with bleach, we've done it with, you know, hand sanitizer, but we've also done it by staying indoors and our bodies recognize the absence of those things that we need because nature is literally foundational to our wellbeing.
Kiran Krishnan: 00:57
They're getting exposure to all of those environmental microbes that allow them to be supremely adapted to that environment that they live in. So the one commonality among all of these areas where people tend to live much longer, happier, better lives in general, is that they allow themselves to be exposed to their environment in a very great degree.
Dr. Maya Shetreat: 01:17
Being in a natural setting, wherever it may be, and having that interaction with, with the rhythmic qualities of nature and with the plants and with the microbiome of the earth are all the things that our bodies want and need in order to stay in balance. Which is ultimately what helps us live long and healthy lives.