by Gina Berry, MS, RD, CLT
You may have heard about the microbiome – a collection of microorganisms such as bacteria that live in our intestinal tract (and weigh around 2 pounds!) But, most people have never heard of the virome! This is a group of trillions of beneficial viruses that we share our body with and your virome is as unique as your fingerprint. Scientists are just beginning to understand this essential human ecosystem. Many of these viruses have important jobs throughout the body. One function researchers have discovered is that some viruses in your virome actually regulate our microbiome and keep the bacteria in check so that bacteria don’t override our bodies. Viruses also seem to play an important role in the regulation of our immune system, autoimmune diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, and mental health.
One way we can ensure that we have a healthy virome is to foster a healthy microbiome since there is a symbiotic relationship between them. Eating plenty of fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables, especially locally grown
produce, will help improve diversity of intestinal organisms. Also, be sure to eat foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, or pickled vegetables.