How to Maintain Your Microbiome

Dr. Grace Liu smiles big for the camera

Hippocrates once said all disease begins in the gut — so, what important role does gut health play in your health and fitness goals? We spoke with the Gut Goddess herself- Dr. Grace Liu, functional medicine practitioner and owner of The Gut Institute. We discuss the microbiome, or the community of microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract, and the significant role it plays in our overall health. Let’s take a deeper look into how taking proper care of your gut’s microbiome will optimize your health!

How Does Gut Health Affect Overall Health?

Healthy humans should have 88 species of bacteria in their gut (known as the core biome). These strains are tiny strings that cross each other — creating the microbiome’s ecosystem. People who are the happiest, healthiest, and live the longest maintain these 88 strains.

If you kill one of the species in your gut, you could kill off ten other species that relied on that species to perform well. Imbalanced guts cause trouble sleeping, mood changes, fatigue, skin irritation, autoimmune issues, and migraines. Studies show an estimated 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut! Simply put, it is impossible to be healthy with bad gut health.

Dr. Grace says, “The gut is our superpower. People are not at their maximal performance, health, or wealth. Studies are showing that all life on Earth—whether it’s a bumble bee, boa constrictor, bird, or plant—all life on Earth co-evolved with the microbiome since the dawn of time. It’s so critical for the host’s success for that symbiosis.”

an animated version of the large and small intestine, highlighting the flora and fauna of a microbiome

How Can We Keep the Microbiome Healthy?

To maintain a healthy microbiome, you should have a diet that supports it. Dr. Grace recommends a high-fiber diet — consuming approximately 30-70 grams of fiber per day. People who regularly eat fresh foods, high amounts of fiber, and probiotics will maintain these 88 strains.

Pathogens, known as bad flora, kill off our good gut flora. You can avoid pathogens by reducing any stressors in your life, like lack of sleep or overworking. Stressors prime the body to wreak havoc on the gut!

Dr. Grace says, “Western guts have a lot more pathogens. It’s because we’ve had antibiotics, stress, or the Standard American Diet (SAD). We kill off the good flora, or we don’t eat enough fiber for the good flora to hang around. They have to be fed.”

If you need to revive some of the strains that may be dead in your gut, Dr. Grace recommends eating fiber and probiotics to resurrect them.

5 jars filled with colorful, fermented vegetables such as pickles, radish, and sauerkraut

3 Steps to Get Your Gut Health Back on Track Today

Dr. Grace’s ultimate goal is for everyone to have the 88 strains in their core biome. There’s not a universal diet that everyone should follow because there are genetic and lifestyle factors at play. Instead of following a specific diet, try implementing Dr. Grace’s three tips to start having better gut health today:

  • Eat high amounts of fiber
  • Incorporate a good probiotic
  • Exercise regularly

If you want to look better naked and perform at your best, we recommend assessing your gut health to see if any adjustments are necessary. You’ll notice a boost in your energy, mood, and sleep quality when you maintain a healthy microbiome with the essential 88 strains!