The Creatures that Live in Our Bodies from Vera Vos, Family Nurse Practitioner

Vera Voss

by Vera Vos

One of the most fascinating and significant biological discoveries of this century is that we are not alone in our bodies.

Human bodies are made up of approximately 37.2 trillion cells. There is an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms (single celled creatures) that live on and within us, about 3 times more cells than our own bodies! Whole ecosystems of microorganisms live in every part of our body – skin, brain, liver, lungs, etc. The ecosystem that gets most talked about is our gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that inhabit our gut), which when all dumped together on a scale weighs about 2 Kg and consists of at least 1,000 species of bacteria, not to mention viruses, fungi, protozoa and archaea. Two thirds of our gut microbiome is unique to us as an individual, like our finger print.

Why is this such a big deal? We still have lots to learn but all the microorganisms in our body and, maybe, especially our gut microbiome have a huge influence on our health. They are major contributors to digestion and largely responsible for extracting nutrients from food. They spearhead the production of certain vitamins like B and K and play a major role in immune function. The surprising thing is how much influence they have on today’s most common disease processes.

Due to changes in our food supply and other factors, certain strains of microorganisms are increasingly common in the human gut and may be associated with weight gain and obesity, cancers, autoimmune disorders, and mental health, especially depression, anxiety and autism.

Considering obesity is associated with increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some cancers, arthritits, and many other chronic diseases, the unique make-up of our own gut microbiome is very significant to our health.

So how do we maximize the health of our gut microbiome, and, coincidentally our own health? Obviously eating a healthy diet is most important. I recommend 70-80% or more of our diet be whole plants – vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Buying organic, local and seasonal or growing your own is probably best and adding lots of fresh herbs and spices, wild mushrooms and fermented foods creates a favorable gut environment for healthy microbes. There are more non-gluten grains available than ever before and sprouted, organic wheat products may be tolerable for those sensitive to wheat gluten.

If you would like to learn a whole lot more about how our microbiome influences our health and how to cultivate a microbiome that helps us thrive, check out the program below:

Click here to watch a video on how we are interconnected and the power we have to heal from within.

Please call our Pohala office if you would like to make an appointment to talk about gut health.

Vera

Healthy Snacks for a Natural and Nutritious Diet

Changing how we snack doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Innovations in snacks, oils, desserts, and more lets us have fun with food while staying healthy.  Whether you want chocolate that helps with weight loss or chips that heal your gut, this list has you covered.

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Eating Evolved / mbg Creative

Whether you’re dabbling with a keto diet or you just want to embrace healthier dessert options, these cups are a deceptively healthy delight. Eating Evolved is committed to embracing the motto “Chocolate: It’s Food, Not Candy,” and these cups do just that, with only four simple ingredients (organic cacao, organic coconut butter, MCT oil, and vanilla extract). Keep a stash in your freezer for whenever a chocolate craving strikes, and you’ll get the pleasure of something sweet while staying healthy.

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The Coconut Cult / mbg Creative

The yogurt that’s taken Instagram by storm. Each of these dairy-free quarts contains over 800 billion human-strain probiotics. Meant to be consumed more as a supplement than as straight yogurt, it’s delightfully tangy (almost effervescently so) and pretty damn addictive. It can completely change our digestion (read more about that here).

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Bonafide Provisions / mbg Creative

These bone-broth-spiked beverages provide the perfect antidotes to the sometimes cloying sweetness of many bottled juice products by embracing the savory side of ingredients including spring peas, butternut squash, beets, red pepper, and more. The collagen in the bone broth can help heal your gut lining, but possibly more more enticing is the help you will receive with midafternoon cravings by the amazing umami flavor. You can consume these drinkable vegas either hot or cold. Click here to read more about the philosophy behind the Bonifide company. 

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Farmhouse Culture / mbg Creative

The first ingredient in these chips is dried sauerkraut, which may sound strange but adds just the right amount of tang to each bite. Each gluten-free serving contains 1 billion CFUs of probiotics, and the flavors, which mimic the Farmhouse Culture sauerkraut types, are out of this world. Try the Dill Pickle or the Zesty Garden Veggie—you won’t be disappointed.

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Simple Mills / mbg Creative

These ready-made chocolate chip cookies have one of the simplest, healthiest ingredient lists around, based around a probiotic-rich tigernut, coconut, and almond flour blend. There’s no refined sugar, no gluten, and no artificial flavor or preservatives (they use only a bit of rosemary extract to keep these cookies fresh). The flavor, though is pure delight.

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Bare / mbg Creative

These chia and coconut crispy bites are the perfect yogurt or smoothie topper, although they’re also amazing to eat on their own when you want a crunchy snack. They’re sweet, salty, and crunchy, making them oh-so-satisfying for any craving. The chia adds extra fiber and good fat to the coconut’s already solid profile, while the flavors (including vanilla and pineapple) add additional interest.

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Siete / mbg Creative

These chips are essentially the healthy Doritos of your dreams, with a satisfying crunch and a powdery, finger-coating cheesy flavor. They’re made from high-fiber, gluten-free cassava flour and cooked in high-heat-safe, anti-inflammatory avocado oil. What you may wonder creates the cheesy flavor? That’s from B-vitamin-rich, totally vegan nutritional yeast.

We support healthy eating at Pohala. All of our practitioners can work with you on creating a healthy diet that meets your needs.

To Your Health!  

Team Pohala