New York City is often described as a great place for culture. So I thought it was appropriate that we were enjoying the ‘cell culture’ of the human microbiome. This excellent exhibit, “The Secret World Inside You”, was at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The human microbiome is the very particular environment of microorganisms that live in and on our body. We’re coming to understand how essential it is to our well-being. Some lessons we’re learning:
• avoid unnecessary antibiotics.
• breastfeeding helps create a baby’s healthy microbiome.
• fermented foods can support your healthy gut.
NPR has a very good animation that explains the basics of the human microbiome… in less than six minutes!
The human microbiome exhibit itself was very cleverly done. From the large halls of the main museum, one walks through a small entrance and enters into a dark space lit with tiny little lights. These were like millions of little bacteria, microbes and germs surrounding us in our space. What a great way to illustrate the human microbiome.
The exhibit describes a mother’s healthy microbiome and how babies benefit from being exposed to this. Here’s something new I learned. About a month before birth, there is a change in the mother’s gut biome to include more Lactobacillus bacteria. This bacteria helps digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Her body is preparing for her baby… perfect timing for a newborn who will be drinking (mother’s) milk. Again, I am in awe of Nature’s designs.
The intricate balance of nutrition, environment and individual cell ‘culture’ in our bodies is amazing. Yes, indeed, Nature does plan for success. You, as a healthy woman, are an important part of that success.
If you can’t get to New York, that’s okay. Just know that you are a fascinating culture in yourself.