Our gut microbiome is made up of good and bad bacteria. The aim is to feed and promote the growth of the beneficial bacteria.
1. Eat Well
Fermented Foods – Incorporate kim chi, sauerkraut, keffir, kombucha or miso into your diet. These foods are rich in PROBIOTICS (live microorganisms like Lactobacilli) which add to the population of good bacteria. Probiotics also produce beneficial POSTBIOTICS in the gut, such as short chain fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and other health-promoting effects.
Fibre – Consume a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and nuts. Fibre provides PREBIOTICS which means it acts as food for the good bacteria. This stimulates growth among the pre-existing good bacteria. Fibre also helps maintain bowel health.
Fluid– Drink plenty of water. It also aids digestion and prevents constipation.
Reduce highly processed foods, sugars and artificial sweeteners – These are though to alter the gut bacteria, but also when consuming these foods, you are likely eating less of the food that is beneficial to your gut microbiota.
2. Focus on Fitness
Regular Exercise & Sleep – Ensure you make time for these two key healthy habits.
Stress Management – Stress and depression can reshape the gut bacteria’s composition through stress hormones and inflammation. Some strategies to reduce stress levels include deep breathing, mindfulness, yoga, sport or just going for a walk with friends or family.
Intermittent Fasting – Try periodically incorporating time restricted fasting for 12 or ideally 16 hours once or twice a week. This can have a range of positive benefits not only for metabolic health (e.g. weight control) but promote a diverse healthy gut microbiome.
There has been an explosion of scientific literature that has shed light on the crucial role of our gut microbiome in the pathogenesis of various diseases. From gastrointestinal conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS) and Coeliac disease, to broader health issues such as liver disease, reflux disease, and even bowel cancer. An imbalance of gut microbiota have also been associated with conditions like anxiety and depression, and obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
In our quest for optimal health, we need to support the intricate balance of microorganisms in our gut as best we can.
Disclaimer – This article is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Always consult a registered health professional regarding any health-related diagnosis or treatment options.