You share your body with trillions of microbes, most of which reside in your gut.
This community of gut bacteria (also called the microbiome) is crucial to your health, and very few varieties are pathogenic (harmful or disease-causing). They help you digest food and absorb nutrients.
Your gut microbiome also plays a vital role in your immune system. They help fight off harmful bacteria and other invaders, and imbalances have been linked to a wide range of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Add More Variation To Your Diet
The bacteria in your gut feed on the food you eat, and different types of bacteria thrive on different types of food.
If you eat the same foods day after day, week after week, you’re limiting the types of bacteria that can grow in your gut. Lack of variation in your diet means a lack of variation in your gut microbiome.
Your microbiome needs diversity to function properly. Diversity provides balance, stability, and resilience. It prevents any one type of bacteria from becoming too dominant and allows the community to better adapt to changes. It also helps ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Count up the different types of food you eat regularly. How many different types of vegetables do you eat? The produce section of your grocery store is likely filled with dozens of options, but you might only eat a few regularly.
Eat Fiber-Rich Foods
As you expand the variety of foods in your diet, pay special attention to including foods that are high in fiber.
Fiber helps keep your digestion flowing smoothly, allowing your gut bacteria to do their job properly. Plus, it’s important to keeping your heart healthy and preventing chronic disease.
High-fiber foods include:
- Leafy Greens
- Whole grains
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermentation is a process in which bacteria break down carbohydrates into simpler compounds like alcohol or lactic acid. This process preserves food and creates beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can have health benefits when consumed. They help maintain the balance of microbes in your gut and support a healthy immune system.
Fermented foods include:
Avoid High-Fat and High-Sugar Foods
Processed foods, sugary drinks, and refined carbohydrates will not do well in supporting a healthy gut. These types of foods are linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
They may also promote the growth of harmful bacteria and lead to inflammation.
This includes foods such as
- Full-fat dairy products
- Processed meats
- White bread
To have a healthy gut, you need to feed it with healthy foods. Otherwise, you’ll create an environment in your belly where the wrong types of bacteria and microorganisms can thrive, reproduce, and cause you to get sick.