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June 30, 2020 | by

Why your gut health matters

What is the gut microbiome and how does it impact gut health?

Gut health has become a popular health topic in recent years, and for good reason. Our gut microbiome is like an internal epicentre that impacts our overall health.

The term microbiome refers to the genetic material of the trillions of microorganisms that live on, and in us. Consider our gut microbiome as an internal garden, where it relies on lots of different organisms to live together.

Of all the organisms present, bacteria is the most abundant in out gut.

What can influence the gut microbiome?

  • Birth mode – natural delivery vs caesarean section
  • Mode of infant feeding – breastfeeding or formula
  • Anti-biotics
  • Some medications
  • Stressful events
  • External environment, pollution
  • Dietary fibre and variety of foods
  • Viruses and parasites

Diet is considered one of the most important and potentially adjustable factors when considering the composition and function of the gut microbiome.

Microba, 2020
Introducing The Human Gut Microbiome – Source: Canadian Digestive Health Foundation

How to have a healthy gut?

Our gut bacteria is fully developed by age three. For this reason, an early emphasis on fibre-rich foods and variety of plant-based foods is critical in ensuring a diverse microbiome in children. The type of food that we eat is also important.

Top three tips for a a healthy gut

  • Eat widely – microorganisms are found in abundance in plant based foods. Therefore, try to include seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole-grains in your diet everyday. Dietary fibre (prebiotics) contained in these foods feed the bacteria (probiotics). The more variety, the better the meal for your gut.
  • Manage stress – chronic stress is detrimental to some strains of bacteria, which can allow others to thrive. As a result, this can upset the gut-brain-axis. Try to find activities that keep you (and your gut) calm.
  • Monitor intake of sweetened soft drinks and artificial sweeteners: studies have shown a disruptive affect on gut health when consumed frequently.

This blog post was written by our resident Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) Madeleine Baumgart. Madeleine offers nutrition advice related to improving your microbiome and managing overall gut health.

Madeleine uses various evidence-based techniques, including microbiome analysis through Microba.

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