In the human body, there are more than a trillion microorganisms living, mostly in our intestines. The research continually highlights the importance of these gut microbes in sustaining optimum health.
In this post, we'll take a closer look at the human microbiome, its significance, and some scientifically proven methods for improving it. First, let’s start with a brief on the human gut microbiome. Let’s begin!
What's the human gut microbiome?
The term “gut microbiome” refers to the enormous collection of symbiotic microorganisms in the human gastrointestinal tract, which includes a variety of naturally occurring bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses.
These microbes are always non-pathological, which doesn’t cause infection or trigger an immune response. According to recent research, the gut microbiome serves the host in various vital biochemical tasks, and microbiome abnormalities are linked to many human diseases.
The function of the gut microbiome in metabolism, immunological defense, and behavior is gradually coming to light. Furthermore, they also function as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-carcinogenic agents.
Why is gut microbiome important?
- Human digestion and nutrition highly depend on the gut microbiota, which can produce nutrients from sources that would otherwise be indigestible to us. For example, they digest xyloglucans, which have numerous health benefits, including weight loss.
- Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), crucial for modulating immune responses and tumorigenesis in the gut, are released from indigestible dietary fibers by these microbes. SCFA is an essential source of energy for intestinal mucosa and also prevents the accumulation of toxins in the gut.
- Human microbiome influences and modulates the immune system and helps our body to combat several infectious and inflammatory conditions. Studies indicate that an imbalance in the gut microbiome can lead to inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, apart from numerous other diseases.
- Gut microbes are actively involved in carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism; any imbalance will disrupt metabolism, which in the long run may cause metabolic syndrome.
- Another essential metabolic task performed by gut bacteria is the synthesis of vitamin K and many vitamin B components.
- According to research, alterations in the gut microbiome can also lay the foundation for developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
- Recent research has demonstrated that the human gut microbiota is also involved in the dietary breakdown of different polyphenols (phenolic substances), making them bioavailable.
- Gut bacteria are known to improve human health by biotransforming inactive biomolecules into their active counterparts. For instance, the aglycon equol produced by the conversion of isoflavones possesses anti-androgenic and hypolipidemic properties.
- Additionally, there has lately been evidence that gut microorganisms can reduce the severity of several systemic disorders, including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, metabolic diseases, and infectious diseases like diabetes mellitus.
Also Read: 7 Things To Boost Your Metabolism
7 Science-based Ways to Improve Your Gut Microbiome
Get enough probiotics
Probiotics contain living organisms, typically certain strains of bacteria, that directly increase the number of beneficial microbes in your gut population. The composition of the gut microbiome may be restored, and the microbial populations in the gut may be assigned beneficial roles via probiotics.
Consume foods high in probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and other fermented foods. An efficient probiotic supplement is another choice, and it can be pretty helpful with our hectic routine. Digestive enzymes and at least 15 strains of probiotic bacteria should always be included in any probiotic supplement you choose. It's better to go for a probiotics+ prebiotics.
Also Read: Fermented Foods or Probiotics?
Don’t forget your prebiotics
The beneficial bacteria in your gut get their nourishment from prebiotics. These are carbs that your body cannot break down. As a result, they travel to the lower digestive tract, where they behave like food to promote the growth of good bacteria.
Foods like whole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic, soybeans, and artichokes contain prebiotics. For the best effect, probiotic use must be paired with prebiotics. If you find it challenging to consume all these, choose a quality probiotics+ prebiotics powder.
Include polyphenol-rich foods
Polyphenols have been found to support gut flora in recent studies. Because they are largely inaccessible to the body, polyphenols, which are secondary metabolites of plants, act as a prebiotic substrate and have positive health effects.
Polyphenols decrease the number of harmful bacteria like Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, and Helicobacter pylori, while the growth of probiotic bacterial groups like Bifidobacteriaceae and Lactobacillaceae is encouraged.
Have plenty of dietary fiber
A fiber-rich diet is recommended as they provide the prebiotics required to grow beneficial microbes. Additionally, studies demonstrate that consuming a lot of dietary fiber is linked to more diverse gut microbiota and slower long-term weight gain.
According to a recent study, the gut flora was significantly enhanced by increasing fiber consumption for just two weeks. Dietary fiber supplements are now available in the market that acts as probiotics+prebiotics powder.
Cut down sugar
High-sugar diets have been associated with greater levels of inflammation, particularly for sugars like high-fructose corn syrup. This irritation from the inflammation can harm the gut’s protective mucous layer and reduce the microbiome population.
According to an animal study, consuming sugar changes the gut flora and triggers a series of events that result in metabolic illness, pre-diabetes, and weight gain. Cutting down on sugar also has other health benefits, including weight loss.
Reduced microbiome diversity is linked to chronic stress. Stress hormones, inflammation, and autonomic changes brought on by depression and stress can affect the composition of the gut microorganisms.
The result is that gut bacteria release metabolites, toxins, and neurohormones that may impact mood and eating habits, which in the long term can cause weight gain and lead to obesity, diabetes
Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
Antibiotics may have a number of detrimental effects on the gut microbiota, including decreased species diversity, changes in their metabolic activity, and the development of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Therefore, avoid taking antibiotics arbitrarily and follow up with lots of probiotics and prebiotics to rebuild your gut flora.
There we are. The gut is our second brain, and science believes it to be one of the significant organs determining your health. Thus, we must treat these teeny tiny guests in our gut with proper nourishment and care.
Which natural probiotic food have you included in your diet regularly? Comment below!