Introduction to the gut microbiome
BY Added Health Editorial Team | 12 December 2022
The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of bacteria and other microbes which occur naturally in our digestive tract and intestines.
It is now known that this microbiome plays a vital role in human health by supporting digestion, the maintenance of a healthy immune system and many other facets of our well-being.
We can achieve a healthier microbiome by taking care of our general health and especially by adopting a more plant-based diet.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome refers to the community of bacteria that live in your intestines: this “gut flora” is a rich ecosystem of tiny, microscopic organisms.Most dangerous germs enter our bodies through our mouths, so our gut accounts for 80% of our immune system. Having the right balance of “good bacteria” in your gut is critical to your heart, health, and wellbeing. This army of microbes reduce inflammation, illness and give us energy and nutrients. “Bad bacteria” are linked to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, cause us to put on weight and leave us more vulnerable to COVID-19 and other viral illnesses.
How does a healthy gut prevent disease?
The good bacteria in our gut play a key part in preventing diseases. The latest research shows that some bacteria reduce inflammation, lowers lipids and blood glucose after meals.
This all helps prevent disease. In some recent studies, scientists were able to identify which microbes increased the risk of disease before the symptoms showed. The new research means in the future we may be able to test our gut health and prevent diseases before they start. We will monitor this data and follow-up studies over the coming months and years to keep you updated on how it may impact your diet. In the meantime, there are some sensible things you can do to ensure you have a healthy gut.
How do I achieve a healthy gut?
One of the biggest influences on the gut microbiome is what you eat. You can reset your gut microbiome within days or weeks. For better or worse. Binge on the bad stuff and it will be like putting sand in your car. The good news is we have designed a program that resets your gut microbiome with “good bacteria” and removes the harmful bacteria that cause inflammation. With its balance restored your healthy gut will help you maintain optimal health and vitality.
By adopting a plant-based diet and ensuring you have enough sleep and exercise, you can keep your gut flora healthy. Studies show that the consumption of particular types of food produces shifts in our body’s gut microflora.
The microbiome reset helps us prevent the onset of a host of killer conditions like heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer, autoimmune disease, and adult-onset diabetes.
Keeping your microbiome in shape is one way to support your day-to-day health.
Our gut health tips:
- Eat a diverse plant-rich diet with lots of salads every day. If you don’t have Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), include cruciferous veg like cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower.
- Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and fermented tofu — in a small bowl at least twice a week (ideally more often).
- Avoid antibiotics if at all possible.
- Avoid processed foods especially meats and foods with a high sugar content, ie, 5g/100g. If you are travelling and simply cannot source healthy plant-based foods, then consider taking a probiotic (with 15 species of bacteria) as a temporary measure.
Vijay, A. and Valdes, A.M., 2022. Role of the gut microbiome in chronic diseases: A narrative review. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 76(4), pp.489-501. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-021-00991-6
Singh, R.K., Chang, H.W., Yan, D.I., Lee, K.M., Ucmak, D., Wong, K., Abrouk, M., Farahnik, B., Nakamura, M., Zhu, T.H. and Bhutani, T., 2017. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. Journal of Translational Medicine, 15(1), pp.1-17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-017-1175-y