Supporting A Healthy Microbiome

Photography / Styling: Alexis Courtney + Bella Weinstein

A term you’ve likely heard thrown around in many facets with varying opinions, the microbiome is the heart of our gut, in which case maintaining a healthy environment is crucial in supporting and protecting proper digestion, nutrient absorption, hormone balance, immunity, mood, sleep and a million other interactions within our bodies. Our microbiome helps us break down fats, carbohydrates, plant material, and proteins that we are unable to digest on our own.

“We are basically cucumbers ruled by our microbes. If you follow any medical research, by now you know the ropes a bit to know microbial balance is a magical key in unlocking total health harmony. Focusing on a healthy diverse microbiome allows for clarity of thoughts, skin, emotions, wit, and hormones. There is even a theory floating around that our evolution is stunted because our microbiome is being tampered by chemical exposures and lack of food diversity.” - Dr. Cope, Boketto’s in-house naturopath

In drawing together the scientific knowledge and expertise of both Dr. Cope and Nadine Artemis, both of whom we value and immensely in their respective fields and studies, we’re kicking off our Boketto Health + Wellness Series with a discussion on The Microbiome and tangible ways that you can support yours daily through diet and lifestyle. While environmental factors are largely beyond our control, remaining conscious of what we’re putting in to and on our bodies daily is fundamental and superior towards preventing chronic inflammation, disease, aging and a compromised immune system.


FEEDING YOUR MICROBIOME

Long-term dietary changes can significantly help to shift your microbiome and determine which types of bacteria live in your gut. These bacterial boosters are often to referred to as prebiotics — digestion-resistant starches that pass unchanged through the entire digestive system to the colon, where the bacteria feed on them. These resistant starches help to lower inflammation in the colon, which therefore should help to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, elevate insulin sensitivity, and balance blood sugar levels.

Consider adding prebiotic-rich foods into your daily diet, including green bananas, cooked potatoes, oats, dandelion root + greens, plantains, onions, garlic, leeks, jicama, cassava, raw collards and raw asparagus.

Our naturopath, Dr. Cope, suggests eating a rainbow of 10-50 different fruits and vegetables (ideally, 30) per week and you’ll be able to support gut health diversity. It’s not impossible, and slightly infeasible given modern day living.  Adding in herbs such as parsley and cilantro to your salads helps.

The reality, however is that most of us need a complete microbiome reset. Therefore, approximately three days of liquid fasting (fasting mimicking diet) promotes stem cell regeneration and immune cell turnover that slays inflammation.  This paves the way for a healthy terrain to be able to hold on to the microbiome you are hosting with more ease.

What does not support healthy gut microbes? Processed sugar, carbohydrates, and fats + factory-raised meat and dairy. It’s mind blowing the amount of antibiotics that have been added to the food of these factory-raised animals, that then pass into the meat and dairy that humans consume — causing weight gain and harmful distress to the immune system.


NOURISHING THE SKIN MICROBIOME

Nadine Artemis, creator of Living Libations + author of Renegade Beauty explains that gut bacterial imbalances may result in chronic inflammation that can lead to damage to collagen and the skin bacteria, which therefore contributes to rapid aging.

Things to include in your diet to nourish and support the microbiome of the skin?

“Dietary fat is vital for whole-body health and beautiful skin, and some fats are better than others. The fabulous fats in rich avocados, pasture-raised dairy, and real, organic olive and coconut oils support our cellular integrity and keep the skin soft and supple from the inside out. Processed omega-6 polyunsaturated fats and trans fats, found in every processed food on the supermarket shelf, impair intercellular communication and suppress immune functions, which are associated with skin aging and hyperpigmentation.”

Colorful meals featuring abundant fresh, organic and wholesome foods including healthy fats, proteins, fruits and vegetables support reduced inflammation and the reversing of oxidative damage to the skin. Vitamins and minerals can also be supportive allies, including zinc, omega-3 EFAs, Vitamins C, B, B12, and E; turmeric (curcumin), polyphenols found in grapes, cranberries and blueberries, magnesium, selenium and indole-3-carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables (which helps to clear excess estrogen that may contribute to melasma). Avoid foods containing soy when possible, as it contains plant estrogens that can stimulate and mimic human estrogen!


MICROBIOME-FRIENDLY STAPLES FROM THE BOKETTO APOTHECARY

We’ve curated a list of some of our favorite microbiome-friendly staples that nourish the body from the inside out, and outside in.

INTERNAL

TERRAFLORA Advanced Gut Microbiome Support, a broad spectrum soil-based synbiotic (probiotic + prebiotic) formulated with a combination of spore form probiotics, and advanced, food-based, ancient prebiotics designed for robust support of gastrointestinal health. Contains Ribospore™ (Bacillus pumilus) and Bacillus megaterium EM144™, two novel probiotic strains shown in studies to produce highly bioavailable, gastric stable antioxidant carotenoids, right at the site of absorption.

WE ARE BRIGHTLAND Extra Virgin Olive Oils, containing high levels of polyphenols, anti-inflammatory components, and the good fats required to stimulate cellular restoration, preservation and longevity.

TOPICAL

BATHING CULTURE Mind + Body Wash, a completely organic, biodegradable, all-purpose, concentrated soap to revive skin while keeping our most precious parts clean, and safe. Highly concentrated, so just a little bit goes such a long way! Smells of the coastal redwoods to feel like you’re bathing directly in nature. So good.

LIVING LIBATIONS Best Skin Ever, if you’re looking for an incredible staple daily cleanser + moisturizer that truly does not disappoint. A magical creation by Nadine herself, these oil cleansers contain a host of precious carrier and essential oils to protect and nourish well beneath the skin barrier.

MARIE VERONIQUE Pre + Probiotic Daily Mist, to maintain skin's microbiome balance by encouraging helpful microorganisms to thrive. An instant refresh made with coconut water, which profoundly hydrates while anti-inflammatories calm and soothe.

NA NIN Essential Oil Hand Wash, formulated locally from our friends at Na Nin — minimal, naturally based hand washes made with liquid castile soap and pure essential oils. In Lavender + Frankincense and Sage + Eucalyptus.

PAN NATURAL GOODS Purify Natural Hand Sanitizer, a locally crafted paraben-free anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal hand spray containing witch hazel, aloe vera, vitamin e oil + essential oils of rosemary, tea tree, grapefruit, lemon, clove and orange. Rather than traditional hand sanitizers that strip skin of benefical bacteria, this preserves while protecting, naturally.

SISTERS Shampoo, Conditioner + Body Wash, a microbiome-friendly line of hair and body products that are completely void of toxic chemicals and ingredients like sulfates, parabens, PEGs, chemical preservatives or chemical fragrances. All ingredients are biodegradable, using the highest quality essential oils and amino acids that are gentle enough on the skin to cleanse without stripping the natural oils and peptides that our bodies have worked so hard to create.

ENVIRONMENT + HOME

NA NIN Lavender + Virginia Pine Home Cleaner, the ideal companion for cleaning surfaces in your home including: countertops, sinks, tubs and wash room tile. Made with four simple ingredients: organic vinegar, distilled water, lavender & pine essential oils.

MAVEN MADE Yoga Mat Cleaner, an aromatic and nontoxic formula that doesn’t just have to be used for yoga mats, as it acts as an all-purpose cleaner. Notes of lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils.


While this series of health + wellness discussions are meant to simply serve as a framework, we recommend that you continue to conduct your own research and make informed decisions that best support your body based on that, in addition to getting on Dr. Cope’s calendar to discuss your circumstances and curiosities on a much deeper and personal level.