Gut Health 101
The gut is our second brain and has a vital role in many processes in our body including metabolism, immunity and mood. Our gut health dietitians are experienced to help individuals who may have undergone treatment or a diagnosis that may have impacted the balance of their gut. Scroll to read more.
The Gut Microbiome
The gut microbiome includes all the bacteria living in our gut that each have their own functions when fed properly through good nutrition. Most gut bacteria live in our intestines, but are present throughout the entire digestive system.
They are required for many processes in the body including:
Digesting our food to make nutrients easier to access for our body to use
Protecting against infections from harmful bacteria that may cause illness or disease
Producing essential vitamins required for normal body functioning
An optimal balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut is required for these functions to occur. The latest research highlights that this may even contribute to weight maintenance or weight loss.
Because of the wealth of new research surrounding the gut microbiome, it is becoming a trendy topic and for good reason. But how exactly can you achieve a balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome to maintain good gut health?
Factors That Influence Our Gut Health
Poor diet quality including high saturated and trans fat, processed and red meat in addition to non-dietary considerations such as tobacco and alcohol use are risk factors to gut health as they can harm the protective barriers of the intestines, leading to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Infections caused by harmful bacteria or viruses e.g. the flu, can lead to inflammation in the gut. This can destroy the balance between good and bad bacteria which can further cause gut-related complications.
Gut-related conditions such as Diverticulosis, IBD, IBS can also benefit from gut nourishment for overall health and wellbeing.
Physical and Mental Wellbeing
Exercise and de-stressing can help favour the growth of beneficial bacteria. Habitual exercise is found to be associated with increased diversity and abundance of good bacteria in the gut. Meanwhile, stress and anxiety can affect the processes in your gut e.g. the ability to absorb nutrients, which can ultimately inhibit the growth of good gut bacteria.
Medications such as antibiotics are useful for fighting off infections caused by bad bacteria. However, prolonged use can affect the diversity of bacteria in your gut.
Patterson E., Ryan P. M., Cryan J. F., Dinan T. G., Ross R. P., Fitzgerald G. F., & Stanton C. (2016). Gut microbiota, obesity and diabetes. Postgraduate medical journal. 92(1087), 286–300. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2015-133285
Sanofi. (2019). The Power Behind the Gut. Accessed at: https://www.sanofi.com/en/about-us/our-stories/the-power-behind-the-gut
Wen L., Duffy A. (2017). Factors Influencing the Gut Microbiota, Inflammation, and Type 2 Diabetes. The Journal of Nutrition. 147(7): 1486-1475. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.240754
Work with a Gut Health Dietitian
The Four Seasons Dietetics team is experienced in managing people of various backgrounds including complex medical histories. Our dietitians work closely with you to develop a nutrition plan that works with your goals and lifestyle - so you can achieve sustainable and long term health changes.