Image source – Pixabay

On average, each person has over 40 trillion bacteria in their bodies, most of them in the gut.  Known collectively as microbiota, they play an important part in our health, but there are also some that can contribute to illnesses. Which ones survive depends largely on the food that is eaten and science has found ways to encourage the growth of the ones that are most useful to humans.

 

If you want to help prevent depression, cure various stomach issues and generally feel better day to day, you need to improve your gut bacteria. Here’s how you can do that

 

A Mixed Diet

 

The various different species inside the gut need a varied diet to promote their growth. The more diverse your microbiota is, the better it is for your health. Unfortunately, the modern diet tends to consist of many fats and sugars, whereas in regions of Asia, Africa, and South America there is a greater mixture of foods eaten, and the population suffers less digestive problems because of that.

 

A mixed diet, which includes plenty of fresh and whole foods, can lead to a diverse microbiota, which can help to keep you healthy.

 

Fruit And Vegetables

 

Fruit, vegetables, legumes, and beans are the best sources of the nutrients to encourage the growth of good bacteria. There are also studies that show diets high in fruit and vegetables discourage the growth of some of the disease-causing bacteria. Apples, artichokes, blueberries, almonds, and pistachios have all been shown to be beneficial to the growth of the bacteria that prevents inflammation in the gut.

 

Fermented Foods

 

Fermented foods, such as yogurt, contain bacteria that are especially good for your digestive system. Known as probiotics, they help to balance the good and bad bacteria, helping your body to stay healthy. Buttermilk, Kimchi salad, homemade pickles & Apple Cider Vinegar are other good sources of these very helpful bacteria, but it does seem that the best probiotics are found in natural yogurts. Flavored yogurts also contain them but can also be high in sugar levels.

 

Probiotics exert specific benefits to health by changing the composition of the microbiota and encourage your metabolism.  They are very good at restoring the balance of the microbiota if the levels of bacteria have been compromised because of illness, for instance.

Image source – Pixabay

 

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

 

Some studies have shown that the artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar can have an adverse effect on the microbiota in your gut. They may well help you to lose some weight but are also likely to lead to higher glucose levels in your blood and lead to impaired insulin response. It is thought they have these effects on blood glucose levels because of how they encourage the growth of unhealthy bacteria.

 

Whole Grains

 

Whole grains are broken down in the large intestine by the microbiota and encourage the growth of some beneficial bacteria. They can also promote a feeling of fullness and reduce any inflammation in the gut.  

 

Vegetarian Diets    

 

Research has shown that vegetarian diets benefit the microbiota and this is thought to be because they are usually high in fibre.   It is a way of eating that can also help with weight control and cholesterol levels. Vegetarian and vegan diets help to improve the microbiota, but it is unclear if that is due to a lack of meat in the diet or there is some other reason.       

 

Improve your gut health and your overall health will improve too!