Diversity May Be Key to Good Gut Health

Studies of diets based on consuming large amounts of fast food suggest that obesity may be due to more than simply overeating. Since about 90% of your cells are non-human microbial cells, you really are what you eat. Good news is that you can cultivate a new gut microbiota by altering your dietary intake. The more diverse your daily consumption of healthy foods, the better off you and your gut bacteria will fare over the long haul. Unfortunately, the average American diet is loaded with added sugars, artificial ingredients, trans fat, and remnants of antibiotics, none of which support good health.

Ways to improve your gut microbiota

The diversity, quality and origin of your dietary intake shapes your gut microbiota and affects its composition. Consuming probiotics helps to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in the gut microbiome and supports your immune system’s defensive mechanisms. Other science-based ways to improve your gut bacteria include:

  • Eat a diverse range of foods
  • Eat lots of vegetables,
  • Eat legumes and beans
  • Eat lots of fruit
  • Eat fermented foods
  • Limit artificial sweeteners
  • Eat prebiotic foods
  • Eat whole grains
  • Eat a plant-based diet
  • Eat foods rich in polyphenols
  • Take a probiotic supplement

Dietitians caution that you can consume as many probiotics as you want but, if your daily intake includes foods that damage the microbiota, the live bacteria are not going to survive. For example, diets that are low in non-digestible carbohydrates have been shown to reduce total bacterial abundance. Conversely, dietary intake that is high in fiber results in an increase in microbiota gene richness.

Gut Imbalances Affect Crucial Metabolic Parameters

For centuries, scientists believed that bacteria were organisms that should be avoided. As it turned out, your body is naturally loaded with bacteria that help to digest food and play an important role in preventing chronic diseases, including obesity. A number of dietary studies on gut microbe have proven a diverse but balanced microbiome produces positive health benefits, such as better glucose tolerance, better immune function and better weight control. Doctors and dietitians now understand that the balance of the microbiome directly affects an individual’s metabolic parameters with direct implications for health and well-being. It appears that gut balance and food diversity also may play a major role in the development of obesity.

Whether you are struggling with weight issues and want to restore your health and wellness, you can make an appointment with our board-certified internist Dr. Michael Akpeke at Delta IMC, your downtown Orlando Internal Medicine Center.

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