Karen is an Eating Psychology Coach. She is the creator of the Conscious Eating Programme: Changing your thoughts about food to transform your body and your life.
Find out more about Karen's work here.
We've talked before about the latest research in epigenetics and how our genes are shaped by the environment we exist in. Related to this is the field of work is The Human Microbiome. These are micro-organisms in a particular environment which include the body or even part of the body.
Because we depend on a vast amount of microbes to stay alive, we have a microbiome to protect us against germs. These are microbes which consist of bacteria, protozoa, and viruses that also break down the foods we eat to produce energy and vitamins. Scientists have discovered that understanding the microbiome is as important as understanding the human genome. Indeed, some scientists refer to the microbiome as the second genome.
What is interesting about the microbiome is that for every one single gene there are 100 associated genes in our microbiome. Dr Raphael Kelman informs us that the genes in our microbiome out-number the number of genes in our genetic makeup by 100 trillion to 1 and that we are mostly bacteria cells known as microbes. Therefore, humans are mostly microbes. One of my favourite authors, Bruce Lipton, PhD ‘The Biology of Belief’ describes humans as “a skin covered petri dish”.
We now know that the majority of these microbes live in our gut, in particular the large intestine and protect us from disease via the immune system. Much has been written about the microbiome, but what enthrals me is the work of Dr. Gerry Curatola, Assistant Professor at Rejuvenation Dentistry who specialises in the oral microbiome.
Dr. Curatola explains that “the mouth is not just about dentistry. The mouth is really the portal into our overall health”. He says that the same bacteria that causes disease are actually beneficial and essential for our oral health, and that there is no such thing as ‘bad bacteria’.
Apparently, the bacteria in our mouths actually protects us from deadly viruses and he advises against using mouthwash. He suggests that we all do “organic gardening in our mouths” in that we need to get rid of the pesticides which are contained in mouthwashes. By pesticides he means the chemicals that are designed to kill ‘bad bacteria’. He explains that the chemicals in mouthwash disturb the natural ecology of the mouth.
Dr. Curatola describes the mouth as the mirror and gateway to our health and that gum disease is the body’s number one source of chronic inflammation. Thus, those with gum disease are 10 times more likely to have a heart attack. He also advises against using commercial toothpastes as they were invented by soap-makers and contain sulfates and detergent-based parabems.
I learned that our mouth microbiome is as unique as our thumb print, and as well as protection, it aids digestion. So what can we do to improve our own microbiome? He recommends natural, coconut derived products, homeopathic toothpastes, gargling with Himalayan salt, excellent nutrition that alkalises the body, taking pre-biotics, exercise to improve circulation, managing stress and mind-body balance in our lives. All of these combine to restore homeostasis, our body’s preferred state.
To learn more about mind-body nutrition and my Conscious Eater Programme, contact Karen, Eating Psychology Coach on 07804 529371 for a free 30 minute Transform Your Relationship With Food consultation.