“Our function is dependent upon and intimately interwoven with the function of our environment,” says Bland. Just like you have trillions of bacteria residing in your gut, the ecosystems around you have just as many bugs—if not more. Take soil, for instance: The dirt has tons of microbial life, filled with nutrients and healthy minerals that make the vegetables we love so nutritious. “Just like we have gut microbiomes, a healthy plant in healthy soil has its own unique microbiome,” notes Bland.
But because conventional agriculture practices erode the organic matter and life in the soil, those farms aren’t producing food that’s as nutrient-rich as it could be. In turn, our gut microbiomes aren’t receiving the diverse array of nutrients they love, which means your gut health might not be as optimal as it could be.
“When the system is in a state of imbalance, every component of that interconnection is affected. The planet is connected to the organisms, which is connected to the microbes, which is connected to the soil and mycorrhizae, which is connected to the food, which is connected to humans and their health,” Bland explains. “When our environment is disturbed, we are disturbed—our genes are disturbed, and they fight back as an alarm reaction called inflammation.”