Microbiome: The Secret World Inside You

At the American Natural History Museum in New York there is an amazing exhibit:
The Secret World Inside You, running through August 14, 2016 that explores the infinite world of the microbiome on and inside the human body.

During my visit to this exhibit, I realized that this is where hard science meets fermentation cuisine
and for a nutritionist, chef, and passionate fermenter; this is the Golden Age of Fermentation! We are living in the most exciting, glorious revival of an ancient food preservation technique that has served to keep humans healthy and connected to our microbiome for millennia. And now, after decades of being sterile, the scientific and medical communities are finally recognizing the indispensable role that our gut bugs do for us, and us for them. As Sandor Katz has repeatedly reminded us, we live in a symbiotic relationship with our microbes, and we need to care for them so that they can care for us.

Banner outside the American Museum of Natural History (left); Leonid S. giving a wonderful interactive presentation on the microbiota.

Banner outside the American Museum of Natural History (left); Leonid S. giving a wonderful interactive presentation on the microbiota.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Your digestive tract is home to around 100 trillion bacteria—more than all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
  • Research is showing that Bacteroides fragilis can reduce inflammation in the colon.
    This is particularly helpful to people with colitis. 
    (Eating lacto-fermented vegetables can help to increase Bacteroides fragilis in your gut.)
  • Lactobacillus bacteria can reduce both internal and topical inflammation.
    Specifically, Lactobacillus plantarum can cause acne to shrink.
    (Sauerkraut, and other fermented foods provide Lactobacillus strains.)
  • Babies born vaginally became inoculated with microbes from their mothers, including Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium.

If you want to learn more, here's a wonderful article from the exhibition's webpage:
The Microbiome in Your Gut

So, please eat your fermented veggies and live in harmony with the 100 trillion bacteria inside you.

Best,
Karen

Chief Fermentation Officer


Recommended Readings:

Follow Your Gut by Rob Knight

10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness by Alanna Collen

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz