Written By Victoria Smith / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
In the past few years, there has been growing interest in studying the gut microbiome and its effect on human health. The gut microbiome is a community of trillions of beneficiary microbes that live in the large intestines.
Before we're even born, this community of bacteria begins to form, and it's affected by the air we breathe and the foods we eat. A more diverse gut microbiome will have the following positive effects on your health.
Protect Your Gut Health
You can consult an online nutritionist to create a meal plan that will promote a healthier and more diverse gut microbiome. The immediate benefit of changing your diet is that it will help you improve the health of your gastrointestinal system. For example, if you suffer from either irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gut dysbiosis is usually the underlying problem.
This is a condition in which the bacteria in your gut are producing excessive amounts of gas and chemical compounds. When you eat probiotics - yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods - you'll be delivering Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli into your gut microbiome. These bacteria are especially helpful in maintaining the cohesion between intestinal cells. As a result, your gut will be healthier, and you'll be less prone to leaky gut syndrome.
Give Your Heart Health a Boost
Everything we eat contains bacteria. In general, the bacteria in natural foods is beneficial, while the bacteria in processed foods is harmful. If you regularly eat processed foods with large amounts of sugar and trans fats, you'll be consuming large quantities of a bacteria called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).
This bacteria contributes to the formation of plaque on the artery walls, and, once a plaque blockage forms, a heart attack or stroke is more likely. Conversely, eating more plant-based foods will introduce more heart-friendly bacteria into your blood supply. In particular, fermented foods containing Lactobacilli will help lower cholesterol, reducing the amount of plaque buildup in your arteries.
Keep Better Control Over Your Blood Sugar Levels
If you have been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, maintaining a more diverse gut microbiome may help you control your condition. In several different studies, it was found that people who ate exactly the same foods exhibited different levels of blood glucose levels.
After accounting for all other factors, researchers concluded that the blood glucose differences resulted from each individual having a different makeup of bacteria in their gut microbiomes. It has also been found that people with poorer or less diverse gut microbiomes are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
Improve Brain Functioning
Recent research has found that a system of nerves that travels from the gut to the brain helps these two systems communicate effectively. It's also known that certain neurotransmitters are formed in the gut, such as serotonin, and delivered to the brain along with this system of nerves, called the vagus nerve.
Once neurotransmitters have been delivered to the brain, the brain distributes them as needed to promote better mental health. In other research, it has been found that subjects suffering from psychological disorders also suffer from poor gut health.
Lose Weight and Maintain Healthy Weight
If you're overweight or obese and you have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight, the problem may be in your gut. Researchers have found that the gut microbiome affects weight in two different ways.
First, unhealthy bacteria, which are consumed by eating junk food, promote weight gain. By consistently eating an unhealthy diet, you're consuming more of these harmful types of bacteria, contributing to the microbes that promote the growth of fat cells.
Secondly, when you eat more fermented foods and plant-based foods, you're introducing healthier bacteria into your gut. Some of these bacteria promote weight loss. In one study, the gut bacteria of lean mice were transplanted into obese mice and vice versa. The obese mice receiving the lean guts lost weight, while the lean mice receiving the obese guts gained weight.
You can change the makeup of your gut microbiome through exercise and exposure to the outdoors, but the most important thing you can do is eat a primarily plant-based diet. Choose natural foods based on their skin color to expose your gut to a broader variety of healthy bacteria. Replacing processed foods with fruits and vegetables will boost the strength of your gut microbiome, and that will help you live a healthier and longer life.
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Victoria Smith is a freelance writer who specializes in business and finance with a passion for cooking and wellness. She lives in Austin, Texas where she is currently working towards her MBA.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.