Home
Gut microbiome
GUT HEALTH
THE GUT MICROBIOME AND HOLISTIC HEALTH
We are so much more than human … in fact, our bodies contain more microbial cells than human cells (Sender et al., 2016). When we think of microbes we often think of germs, rotten food or illness. However, not all microbes are bad, and there are many that are very beneficial for our health. The gut is not only where our food is digested and absorbed, it naturally contains trillions of microbes. This ecosystem of microbes (e.g., bacteria, yeast, fungi) is what we call the gut microbiome (Sender et al., 2016; Turnbaugh et al., 2007).
WHAT DOES THE GUT MICROBIOME DO?
These microbes play a vital role in our health every day. They digest the food we eat, protect us from infection and produce vitamins, short chain fatty acids, hormones and neurotransmitters (Alfzaal et al., 2022). The metabolic activities of the gut microbiome resemble those of an organ, influencing the entire body via its communicational connection or axis with other organs (e.g., gut-brain axis, gut-skin axis). Emerging scientific evidence links the gut microbiome to weight loss, improved fitness, strengthened immunity, healthier skin and even better mood (Afzaal et al., 2022; Valdes et al., 2018).
WHAT INFLUENCES THE GUT MICROBIOME?
The composition of the gut microbiome is unique between individuals. Factors such as ageing, stress, travel, disease, exercise and, of course, diet determine which microbes you have (Gibson et al., 2017; Milani et al., 2016). Diet is a major factor here – by making healthy changes in your diet, you can help to enhance the composition of your gut microbiome. This can not only improve gut health but also influence the health of the entire body (Rossi, 2019).
EATING FOR A HEALTHY GUT MICROBIOME
Beneficial bacteria for the gut are found in probiotics and fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir and kombucha. Prebiotics such as inulin, fructooligosaccharide (FOS) and polyphenols (a phytonutrient found in berries) feed the good bacteria in your gut and help them thrive. Dietary fibre, found in plant-based foods (vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds), supports a healthy gut environment. Eat the rainbow for a healthy gut and aim for 30 different plant-based foods per week. Variety is key to promote microbial diversity in the gut microbiome.
LIFESTYLE CHOICES FOR A HEALTHY GUT MICROBIOME
Other lifestyle choices for a healthy gut microbiome include regular exercise, getting adequate sleep and finding a way to manage stress that works for you (e.g., yoga, deep breathing techniques, meditation, walking in nature etc.) (Reynolds et al., 2017; Conlon et al., 2014)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caroline Cummins MSc is a Registered Nutritionist and a member of Oriflame’s Nutrition Council.
REFERENCES
fzaal, M., Saeed, F., Shah, Y. A., Hussain, M., Rabail, R., Socol, C. T., Hassoun, A., Pateiro, M., Lorenzo, J. M., Rusu, A. V., & Aadil, R. M. (2022). Human gut microbiota in health and disease: Unveiling the relationship. Frontiers in microbiology, 13, 999001. doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.999001 Conlon, M. A., & Bird, A. R. (2014). The impact of diet and lifestyle on gut microbiota and human health. Nutrients, 7(1), 17–44. doi.org/10.3390/nu7010017 Gibson, G. R., Hutkins, R., Sanders, M. E., Prescott, S. L., Reimer, R. A., Salminen, S. J., Scott, K., Stanton, C., Swanson, K. S., Cani, P. D., Verbeke, K., & Reid, G. (2017). Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 14(8), 491–502. doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2017.75 Milani, C., Ferrario, C., Turroni, F., Duranti, S., Mangifesta, M., van Sinderen, D., & Ventura, M. (2016). The human gut microbiota and its interactive connections to diet. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association, 29(5), 539–546. doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12371 Reynolds, A. C., Paterson, J. L., Ferguson, S. A., Stanley, D., Wright, K. P., Jr, & Dawson, D. (2017). The shift work and health research agenda: Considering changes in gut microbiota as a pathway linking shift work, sleep loss and circadian misalignment, and metabolic disease. Sleep medicine reviews, 34, 3–9. doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2016.06.009 Rossi M. (2019). Nutrition: an old science in a new microbial light. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association, 32(6), 689–692. doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12705 Sender, R., Fuchs, S., & Milo, R. (2016). Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLoS biology, 14(8), e1002533. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533 Turnbaugh, P. J., Ley, R. E., Hamady, M., Fraser-Liggett, C. M., Knight, R., & Gordon, J. I. (2007). The human microbiome project. Nature, 449(7164), 804–810. doi.org/10.1038/nature06244 Valdes, A. M., Walter, J., Segal, E., & Spector, T. D. (2018). Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 361, k2179. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2179
OUR NUTRITION PHILOSOPHY
OUR NUTRITION PHILOSOPHY
LEARN MORE
EDUCATION HUB
EDUCATION HUB
LEARN MORE

Inspiration corner

Advice and products with science you can trust
Center of expertise

Advice and products with science you can trust

The performance, safety and responsibility of our products are non-negotiable. Discover the scientific expertise that underpins everything we do.

Read now

Other categories

BEAUTY INSIGHTS HUB
BEAUTY INSIGHTS HUB