5 Tips To Improve Gut Health Naturally

Looking to improve your gut health naturally? Balance in your gut microbiome is key to your general wellbeing and what you eat is an influential factor on your microbiome's health.

Microbiome diversity, a measure of the number and quantities of different species in your microbiome, is a good measure of overall microbiome health. High diversity is generally reflective of good health, while the opposite is true with low diversity, suggesting poor microbiome health.

Healthcare professionals often prescribe dietary, lifestyle and supplement recommendations to patients and are best placed to provide personalised recommendations to support your gut health. Although the following five general simple dietary changes may be implemented into your everyday life to improve gut health diversity and the overall health of your microbiome, as supported by scientific literature.


1. Getting enough fibre.

The best way to increase the diversity of the microbiome is to eat sufficient and diverse types of dietary fibre. The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand recommend women and men should aim to consume at least 25g and 30g of fibre per day, respectively. Foods with high levels of fibre include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals, legumes and pulses. Switching up your fruits and vegetables to match what is in season and aiming to have different sources of wholegrains throughout the day (such as high fibre breakfast cereal, rolled oats, dense grainy bread, rice, quinoa or polenta) is a great way to vary up your intake of high fibre containing foods.

2. Get the balance right!

Our microbiome contains both fibre and protein digesting microbes. Ideally, we want to promote fibre digesting microbes that produce short-chain fatty acids, which play many health promoting roles, including feeding gut cells to maintain gut barrier function. Mainstream fad diets that support low carbohydrate, high fat and or high protein-based diets can shift the proportion of the microbiome to be in favour of protein digesting species. In some cases, these species can release pro-inflammatory compounds. Aiming for a high fibre intake combined with moderate intakes of low-fat protein foods, such as recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines or the Mediterranean diet, is the best way to ensure a balance of fibre and protein digesting microbes.

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3. Limiting saturated fats.

High intakes of saturated fats have been associated with reduced gut microbiome diversity1 and increased post-prandial levels of pro-inflammatory lipopolysaccharides entering the blood circulation2.  The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand recommend saturated fat should provide less than 10% of your total energy intake, which, on average, is less than 24g/day for the average Australian adult. Foods that are high in saturated fats include full-fat dairy products, processed meats, certain oils like palm oil or coconut oil, and treat foods like pastries, biscuits and chocolates.

4. Limiting artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners are commonly found in low sugar or ‘diet foods’, such as diet soft drinks, low energy desserts and weight loss products. Originally developed as a sugar substitute to help manage diabetes and obesity, research in humans is now suggesting the effects of artificial sweeteners may be contributing to metabolic syndrome and the obesity epidemic3. A recent study in 120 people randomised to consume one of four artificial sweeteners for a two-week period found that some artificial sweeteners significantly impacted glucose tolerance and were also associated with changes to the gut microbiome4. However, changes were not consistent among individuals, suggesting the gut microbiome response to artificial sweeteners may be person-specific. 

5. Including fermented foods into the diet.

Fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir and kombucha have been part of the human diet for a long time. However, there is limited scientific research regarding the impact of these foods on the microbiome or in support of the many health claims associated with their consumption. In addition to the probiotic bacteria found in these foods, some fermented foods, like kimchi or sauerkraut, contain prebiotic fibres which fuel the microbiome. It may be worth mentioning that fermented foods may not be ideal for all people. Some fermented foods are high in salt, which can increase blood pressure. It is also good to note that the fermentation process can also create alcohol. Although all commercially sold kombucha must contain less than 1% alcohol content, people fermenting their own kombucha may wish to exercise caution with reports in the scientific literature of kombucha having triggered liver dysfunction in susceptible individuals.

Some patients with sensitive gastrointestinal systems report gas and bloating symptoms after fermented food consumption. Patients with gastrointestinal conditions should consult a healthcare professional before incorporating fermented foods into their diet.

These 5 tips to improve your gut health naturally are a great start to supporting your gut health. If you are looking for more personalised tips and guidance on how you can make dietary changes to support better gut health we recommend finding a Co-Biome Certified Clinician to learn more.

Discover what dietary changes might help your own gut microbiome maintain a healthy balance. 

Discuss the Co-Biome MetaXplore range with your healthcare professional, or find a Co-Biome Certified Clinician to learn more.


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