3 Ways to Cultivate Your Microbiome

When it comes to keeping fit, you’ve truly got to go with your gut.

“I look at the list of the top 10 causes of death for Canadians, and nine of them now have microbial links, including strokes and heart attacks,” says B. Brett Finlay, a UBC professor specializing in microbiology and infectious diseases. Here’s how to keep that digestive tract in tip-top shape.

Chew Some Probiotic Gum

Mouth microbes are now known to play a major role in your health. Brushing your teeth three times daily, for example, can reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s…but who has time for that? Luckily, probiotic gum delivers a dose of friendly oral bacteria to boost your immune system, reduce bad breath and offer other health perks. Finlay suggests choosing a brand containing the bacterial strain Streptococcus salivarius K12, like BLIS K12.

Say No to Steak

Thanks to microbes, cutting red meat out of your diet lowers your risk of heart disease. A particular type of bacteria that thrives on the L-carnitine in red meat has been linked to atherosclerosis, the hardening of your arteries. In other words: if you eat steak regularly, these mean microbes are probably going to town in your gut. Go vegetarian or vegan and there’ll be nothing left for them to chew on.

Put Your Poop in the Post

It’s not a gross prank. Mail a sample of your feces (and $299 U.S.) to American company DayTwo and they’ll analyze your tummy bugs. The company will then create a personalized diet to help you lower your blood sugar levels and improve your health, all by keeping your beneficial bacteria happy.

Check back for more from VanMag‘s 25 Ways to Live Forever package (our March 2017 cover story!) to learn about the myriad ways—blood transfusions, juice cleanses, IV drips—Vancouverites chase the dream of eternal youth.