So with all this hand washing, sanitizing and mask wearing, it serves as a good reminder to remember that our bodies are home to trillions of microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and archaea, that live both inside and outside of our body—and serve the very important roles of protecting us from pathogens, and maintaining our overall health. Like literally every part of our body.
Diversity is Key
Lack of bacterial diversity is associated with a whole range of health problems, from autism to inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis, type 1 & type 2 diabetes, obesity, eczema, celiac disease, the list goes on.
We can enrich our biodiversity through our diet, by eating lots of different fruits and vegetables, as well as fermented foods, but also through our social interaction with others, and of course, interaction with nature.
The petri dish handprint above was made by Tasha Sturm of Cabrillo College, shows the variety of bacteria found on her 8-year-old son’s hand after playing outdoors.