The gut microbiome is an expansive community of trillions of bacteria that lives in our gastrointestinal tract. Our microbial ecosystems have a major influence on parts of our body such as immune system, body weight, metabolism, mood and appetite. Throwing them off balance can cause us to fall sick, and some illnesses can also disrupt our microbial ecosystems.
Our microbiome can also change throughout our lives as our environment, long-term diet and lifestyle factors continuously play a role as we age. We also have varying gut microbiome which explains why people might have different responses towards the same foods. As researchers learn more about microbes and how it keeps us healthy, there is also an understanding that richer and more diverse gut microbes can help lower the risk of allergies and diseases.
So what can you do to maintain healthy gut flora and increase the number of good bacteria in your body? Start with these diet tips to give your microbiome a healthy boost.
Fermented foods have been receiving a lot of attention for its various health-promoting attributes, and are known to be beneficial on the gut flora through a probiotic effect. These foods are fermented using natural processes which boost the nutritional values and probiotics, which are live microorganisms essential in healthy digestion. Try kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, unsweetened yoghurt, and soybean-based products like tempeh.
Polyphenols are found in plants and they refer to naturally-occurring compounds. According to researchers, polyphenols act as a prebiotic-type substance and have an effect on the composition of the gut bacteria, increasing the number of healthy gut bacteria. Good choices are berries, nuts and seeds, broccoli, red onion, coffee and tea – especially green tea.
Once consumed, each type of plant becomes either soluble or insoluble when they enter our digestive system. Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation symptoms and speeds up the waste’s movement through the digestive tract. Some soluble fibers are prebiotic, such as inulin and beta-glucan, which helps the good bacteria in our gut to thrive. Good examples are onions and garlic, artichokes, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, broccoli and carrots.
It is crucial to increase your fiber intake gradually and drink plenty of fluids to ensure your waste movement in your digestive tract is going smoothly too. Too much fiber amount may cause bloating and stomach pain symptoms.
Cut down on sugar and artificial sweeteners
They are sugar substitutes commonly used as food additives and are also found diet soda and other soft drinks. Researchers found evidence that suggests consuming artificial sweeteners may adversely affect gut microbial activity which can pose a range of health issues. Consuming large amounts of sugar and sugary foods on a regular basis can be difficult on your gut to achieve a healthy microbiome.
When it comes down to the gut microbiome, our digestive systems plays a vital role in many areas of our health concerns such as immunity, mental health and metabolism. There may also be digestive symptoms such as chronic constipation and blood in stools that will require a colonoscopy to investigate them. Pay attention to what you are eating as your intestinal flora can influence your health in beneficial and harmful ways. You can also visit a gastroenterology specialist in Singapore to know more about your gut health.