The more we learn about healthy eating and immunity, the more we discover about the importance of our gut microbiome. When we say gut, it’s just a simpler way of referring to our digestive tract, which is primarily made up of our intestines.
This area of our body is full of bacteria – in fact, the average person has about 100 trillion bacteria living inside their digestive system. Many of these bacteria are great for our overall health, immunity, and digestion, and can even influence conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer.
To continue functioning properly, all of these bacteria need to be fed regularly. The same nutrients that feed our body nourish our gut microbiome and keep it working effectively.
Today, we’ll explain how to care for your gut microbiome and offer a few tips on the benefits of probiotics and other personalized nutrition tools that can help us develop and encourage healthier gut bacteria.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms of our digestive tract. This collection of bacteria, viruses, and fungi numbers into the trillions, and most of them are found in a small pocket of our intestines known as the cecum.
The fact that there are fungi and viruses in our gut may sound strange at first, but it’s perfectly normal. Collectively, these microbes exist to digest our food, but also play a critical role in a variety of other important tasks like fighting diseases, boosting the immune system, and controlling brain health.
Keeping a healthy gut microbiome is essential because any disruption can affect our health in a variety of ways. Severalstudies have shown that people who have an imbalance of unhealthy microbes in their gut are more likely to gain weight. Additionally, it’s not fully known how, but research has recently revealed a deeper connection between gut health and the heart.
Our Top Tips for Developing a Healthier Gut Microbiome
Fortunately, even if you currently have an imbalance in your gut microbiome, there are steps you can take to restore balance. You’ll know this is necessary if you experience uncomfortable ongoing symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or heartburn.
1. Eat a diverse range of whole foods
Eating natural, unprocessed foods with a wide range of nutrients is a great way to improve your gut health and encourage the growth of a variety of healthy microbes. A more diverse gut microbiome is better for your health than one with a more limited number and variety of bacteria.
2. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes
One of the most common good bacteria in the gut is bifidobacteria and its growth can be stimulated by eating foods that are high in fiber. Some of our favorite high-fiber foods include:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Whole Grains
A diet that’s rich in these high-fiber foods can also help to reduce the growth of disease-causing bacteria that have been linked to cancer and heart disease.
3.Choose fermented foods
Eating plenty of fermented foods is a great way to stimulate the growth of positive bacteria within your gut microbiome. Some of our favorites include kefir, yogurt, kimchi, and tempeh.
When a food is fermented, it’s broken down by yeast or bacteria, which stimulates the growth of a bacteria called lactobacilli and can even reduce the growth of a negative bacteria that has been associated with inflammation.
4. Prebiotics & Probiotics
Have you ever gotten confused between foods that are labeled prebiotic or probiotic? Let us help simplify things for you.
Probiotics are foods that contain live beneficial bacteria, which helps to balance your beneficial gut bacteria.
Prebiotics contain ingredients (mostly carbs and fiber) that help to feed your gut bacteria.
Both prebiotics and probiotics are an essential part of any healthy diet. You can find prebiotic fiber in foods like legumes, oats, and bananas, while probiotics are found primarily in fermented foods like the ones we mentioned above. You can also buy probiotic supplements.
Get Personalized Nutrition Advice from GenoPalate
Personalized nutrition offers advice and eating plans that are tailored to your unique genetic needs. Instead of following fad and popular diet trends, eating according to your DNA allows you to develop a diet that is healthier and more sustainable in the long term. You can learn more about GenoPalate’s approach to personalized nutrition here.