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What Does Gut Health Mean?

by Rochelle Louis January 17, 2022

Gut health has already become one of the biggest health trends of 2019 and for good reason. With an increasing amount of research being done on the gut microbiome, the scientific and wellness communities are just beginning to see the potential positive effects it can have on our health.

What is the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome consists of the population of microbes living in our intestines. It is considered a “virtual organ” of the body because of the influence it has on our health. The gut bacteria have the ability to -

  • Synthesize all essential and non-essential amino acids
  • Produce a variety of vitamins
  • Protect us by preventing the colonization of pathogens in the gut

What does it mean for the gut to be healthy?

Generally speaking, the more diverse a microbiome, the healthier it is because more species of bacteria contribute more health benefits.

While the proper maintenance of the gut bacteria comes with a host of benefits, microbial imbalance, called dysbiosis, has been associated with chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers have found that genetic ancestry, in fact, plays a minor role in the composition of gut microbiomes whereas factors like diet and antibiotic intake are the most dominant influences. This is good news because diet is largely controllable.

A diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics can improve the diversity and health of the microbiome while artificial sweeteners and food additives affect the gut microbiome negatively. The best way to improve the health of the microbiome is to:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and plant-protein
  • Eat fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut
  • Eat a diet rich in many varieties of foods - diverse foods equal a diverse microbiome.
Rochelle Louis
Rochelle Louis

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