Handwashing and at least 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer are essential to reduce the spread of infection. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (think about your cell phone, door knobs, etc) is also important!

However, keep in mind a few simple tips to avoid disrupting your microbiome:

1. Don’t over do it! In no way am I saying don’t use sanitizers, cleaners, etc. when you’re out and about, if someone’s ill in your home, if you have visitors, etc…but do you need to disinfect your house multiple times a day if you haven’t gone anywhere?…no. Also, think about the disinfectants and sanitizers you’re using, do they have extra ingredients that you’d like to avoid (such as triclosan- a known hormone disruptor).

2. Think about probiotic rich foods and how you can incorporate these into your meals! You don’t need crazy amounts- even a forkful is beneficial. I love fermenting seasonal veggies in mason jars using simple glass weights and silicone airlocks I purchased off of Amazon. Not in the mood to make it yourself? Check out the refrigerator section of your grocery story! Look for terms like “Live and active cultures.” Some of my favorites: kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and beets (kvass)!

3. Get dirty! Garden, dig in the dirt, go to the park, spend time in nature! The soil has lots of beneficial microorganisms. Growing your own food (wash it, but no need to peel it) or buying fresh produce a a local farmers market, is another great way to promote a healthy microbiome.

4. Feed the bugs! “Prebiotics” is basically a fancy word describing what the bacteria and other microorganisms eat! Some of my favorites are dandelion and chicory (don’t even get me started about how much I love all things dandelion- but one of the best is roasted dandelion and chicory root brewed as a “coffee” substitute), sunchokes (we grow these, and they spread like crazy, kind of like a crispy potato), garlic and onions, oats, and apples.

A healthy microbiome helps to support immune health!

May you and your microbiome be healthy!