"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," they say. As we get older, however, changes in our gut bacteria mean we could benefit from rethinking our approach.
We’re beginning to understand the important role played by the microbiome, the living ecosystem of beneficial bacteria on and inside our bodies.
Our guts are exposed to a wide range of useful microorganisms over the course of our lives, with one of the first big gifts coming in the form of breast milk. From here, our everyday interactions with our natural environment can help build a diverse microbiome.
A diverse microbiome supports healthy immune function and digestive system health. Indeed, bacterial diversity is the hallmark of a healthy microbiome, which subsequently helps maintain your general health.
As we age, it’s natural to lose some of the diversity in our gut microflora. For instance, Bifidobacteria are abundant in the infant microbiome and remain stable in adulthood. They then start to slowly decrease as the normal lifestyle changes associated with our golden years influence the composition of our microbiomes.
The modern world puts strain on the microbiome, in the form of processed foods, heightened stress, lack of exercise, antibiotics and pollutants. But there's a lot you can do to support it.
Aim for a healthy, varied diet of fresh foods. Make sure you include plenty of fibre, as this forms the main fuel for the bacteria of your microbiome.
Regular exercise is also important. Along with general fitness benefits, exercise has a positive effect on gut microbiota and immune system health. Even if you can only manage a short daily walk, some activity is far better than none.
A helping hand
Probiotic supplements can also offer a convenient way to encourage diversity in older microbiomes. Life-Space Probiotic for 60+ Years contains a wide range of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lr-32, Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis HN019 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
This multi-strain probiotic helps to support a healthy immune system and assist in maintaining diverse digestive flora following the use of antibiotics. It also works to support general gut health and normal, healthy bowel movements.
The golden years
Let's be honest, what could possibly surpass a work-free schedule and plenty of free time to enjoy the beauty of everyday life?
These days, we’re living longer and staying fit and active well into retirement. This provides us with the perfect opportunity to invest time in supporting our everyday health and wellbeing. Remember, eating well and staying active into old age can assist your microbiome, which in turn supports your overall health. Why not involve others to support theirs too.