How clean is TOO clean? Here’s what your microbes need to thrive

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Stemming infection spread is important – but let’s not forget about what your microbes need to thrive.

There is zero doubt that strong hygiene measures, especially right now, matter. Yep, from solid hand-washing techniques to cleaner public transport, these methods of controlling infection have their role to play.

At the same time, it’s crucial that you remember what your gut microbiome needs to function at its peak.

So…what’s that? Well, have you ever heard of the ‘hygiene hypothesis?’ This is the idea that exposure to all sorts of microbes (Aka ‘germs) helps your immune system to develop – teaching it to learn the difference between harmful and benign substances.

Essentially, being OVERLY clean is thought to have harmful side effects. Being exposed to different microbes, on the other hand, is paramount to your microbiome being in decent nick.

So, in a world of anti-bac, how can you best support your GM?

Embrace the Diversity Diet – FYI it’s about diet, it’s not about ‘dieting’. You’ll find your comprehensive toolkit for this in my new book, ‘Eat More, Live Well’, (out now- link in bio)

Play in ‘clean’ dirt – Head to your local park or your garden, if you have one, hunt down some fresh dirt and play around. Just sifting some dirt between your fingers counts.

Visit a forest – Good for your brain, good for your body. When you’re surrounded by trees, you get to breathe in all of the airborne microbes in the atmosphere (that’s right they’re floating around in the air too!).

Take it easy on the antibacterial sprays – You want to keep a clean house, natch, and sprays for sure have a role to play. Just try to use them when necessary- there is truly no need to wipe down your kitchen bench 10 times a day.

Play with a furry pet – If you don’t have a fluffy friend living with you, can you head to a friend’s house who does and have a play? Borrowing is best, the last thing we need are more pandemic pets who end up being re-homed!


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