8 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR GUT BACTERIA, BASED ON SCIENCE
We have extracted some information below that is very much based on science. Words in bold and underlined, provide links to further specific article.
Many factors, including the foods you eat, can affect the health of your gut, including the type of bacteria it contains. The best way to get a healthy gut is to eat a fresh, balanced diet.
There are around 100 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are found in your gut.
Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiome, and they’re incredibly important for overall health. However, certain types of bacteria in your intestines can also contribute to many diseases.
Here are 9 science-based ways to improve your gut bacteria.
1. Eat a diverse range of foods
There are hundreds of species of bacteria in your intestines, each of which plays a specific role in health and requires different nutrients for growth.
Generally speaking, a diverse microbiome is considered a healthy one. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the more health benefits they may be able to contribute to.
A diet consisting of different food types can lead to a more diverse microbiome.
Unfortunately, the traditional Western diet is not very diverse and is rich in fat and sugar. In fact, an estimated 75% of the world’s food is produced from only 12 plant and 5 animal species.
However, diets in certain rural regions are often more diverse and richer in different plant sources.
Eating a diverse diet rich in whole foods can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is beneficial for your health.
2. Eat lots of vegetables, legumes, beans, and fruit
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy microbiome.
They are high in fibre, which your body can’t digest. However, certain bacteria in your gut can digest fibre, which stimulates their growth.
Beans and legumes also contain very high amounts of fibre.
Some high fibre foods that are good for your gut bacteria include:
One study found that following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevented the growth of some disease-causing bacteria. Apples, artichokes, blueberries, almonds, and pistachios have also all been shown to increase Bifidobacteria, in humans
Bifidobacteria are considered beneficial bacteria, as they can help prevent intestinal inflammation and enhance gut health.
Many fruits and vegetables are high in fibre. Fibre promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including specific types such as Bifidobacteria.
3. Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods have undergone fermentation, a process in which the sugars they contain are broken down by yeast or bacteria.
Some examples of fermented foods are:
fermented krauts and sauerkraut
Many of these foods are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that can benefit your health.
Research shows that people who eat a fermented foods regularly appear to have more lactobacilli in their intestines and a stronger immunity. These people also have less Enterobacteriaceae, which is a type of bacteria associated with inflammation and a number of chronic conditions.
However, to reap the gut health benefits, make sure the label reads “contains live active cultures.”
Fermented foods can benefit the microbiome by enhancing its function and reducing the abundance of disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.
4. Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotics are foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
They are mainly fibre or complex carbs that human cells cannot digest. Instead, certain species of bacteria in the gut break them down and use them for fuel.
Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain prebiotics, but they can also be found on their own.
Resistant starch can also be a prebiotic. This type of starch is not absorbed in the small intestine and passes into the large intestine, where the microbiota break it down.
Many studies have shown that prebiotics can promote the growth of several types of beneficial bacteria, including Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
Certain prebiotics have also been shown to reduce insulin, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels in people with obesity, which could be beneficial for the prevention of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Prebiotics promote the growth of several types of beneficial bacteria. Studies suggest that prebiotics could also reduce risk factors for certain health conditions by decreasing levels of insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
5. If you can, breastfeed for at least 6 months
A baby’s microbiome begins to properly develop at birth. However, studies suggest that babies may be exposed to some bacteria even before birth.
It is also now proven that during a vaginal canal birth beneficial bacteria are passed from mother to baby as part of the child's microbiome development.
During the first 2 years of life, an infant’s microbiome is continuously developing and is rich in beneficial bacteria which can digest the sugars found in breast milk.
Many studies have shown that infants who are fed formula have an altered microbiome with fewer beneficial bacteria than infants who are breastfed (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Studies are now linking ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) to the microbiome development in early years.
What’s more, breastfeeding is also associated with lower rates of allergies, obesity, and other health conditions that may be due to differences in the gut microbiota (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
Studies are now linking ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorde