Gut health is the buzzword of the moment with more studies revealing that boosting the growth of good bacteria in our gut impacts greatly on our health. While some bacteria are associated with diseases, others are actually crucial for your health and immune system. And feeding these good bacterias with fibre-rich plant foods is also essential to give them a fighting chance to survive.
Having plenty of good bacteria can help keep the bad ones in check. When bad bacteria is too abundant, your immune system may be compromised, and you might find yourself getting sick more often than you would have liked. With new studies beginning to unravel how good bacteria can protect our health, it is important to pay more attention to what is going on inside our bodies.
We are constantly exposed to microorganisms from birth to adult life. As we grow, our microbiome begins to diversify, and the higher the diversity, the better our health. A healthy gut bacteria population play an important role in our metabolism, nutrient digestion, vitamin synthesis and immune response. And it’s no surprise that the food we eat can directly affect the diversity of this population.
Some time ago, a friend introduced me to an Australian journalist and researcher who specialised in investigating the human microbiome. Kale Brock released a very entertaining documentary on the gut microbiome in which he goes on a quest to discover whether the ‘optimal microbiome’ does indeed exist.
The Gut Movie shows the journey of Brock traveling from Australia to Namibia to spend time with an ancient tribe living traditionally off the land. During the excursion, Brock monitors his own microbiome and analyses how it changes in conjunction with the new surroundings. He also takes microbiome samples from the natives to gauge the significant differences in microbiota across different cultures.
The documentary is filled with expert commentary and provides an insightful look at the fascinating world of the gut and its impact on human health. There is certainly a lot to think about when you come across evidence which shows that not only the foods we eat but the environment can directly influence your gut bacteria population. I totally recommend watching the documentary if you’re interested in this topic.
On a personal level, before I moved to Australia, I never encountered any issues with food intolerances. Now, after experiencing a series of allergy symptoms and having found a direct connection to certain foods, I can clearly relate to the documentary’s findings. From my own experience with food intolerances and changing my diet, one of the most significant transformations that I can see is the fact that I don’t get sick anymore. I don’t even remember the last time I caught a cold.
Without question, having a diet full of wholesome, fresh food helps. And I can noticeably feel the difference when I don’t have time to cook and have to eat takeaway meals. With our busy schedules it is easier to go with what is convenient, and this is one of the factors that can negatively impact our gut health.
It is important that we feed our bodies with plenty of fibres and resistant starches, which are considered the best sources of food for the gut microbiome. But like everything else, there is no one-size fits all when it comes to your gut health. The key is to know which foods are good for you and keep supporting your microbiome with what makes you feel good and healthy.
So far during my nutrition degree I have come across many studies on how diseases and inflammatory responses in the body are associated with the imbalances of gut microbiome. If you are new to this topic and interested in learning more about it, I recommend reading this review of the Human Gut Microbiota: Toward an Ecology of Disease, which highlights several studies on the human gut microbiota.
Have you taken any measures to heal your gut? I would love to hear your experience and see if you noticed any difference in your overall health. Please share your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.