THEY say you are what you eat and we all know eating poorly makes us feel sluggish and bloated.
Our diet influences a lot in our lives, from energy, weight to general well-being.
Getty – Contributor There are millions of bacteria which live in our gut
What foods should I eat to get a healthy gut?
The health of our gut is so important it is considered an acquired organ.
It helps the body digest and extract nutrients from food, particularly anything the small intestine may not have been able to digest.
It aids the immune system by acting as a barrier to any potential viruses.
Balanced gut bacteria is essential for efficient and healthy digesting.
Getty – Contributor There are certain foods you can eat to contribute to good gut health
Some key foods to maintain a healthy gut as recommended by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are:
Jerusalem artichokes Bananas Polenta Broccoli, cauliflower, kale etc Blueberries Beans Fermented plant-based foods: tempeh and miso
What is gut flora?
Gut flora, also known as gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota, are the community of microorganisms which live inside our digestive tract.
Gut flora is established around one to two years after birth, and changes in response to our diet.
Gut Microbiota for Health explains: “Our gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes (150 times more than human genes).”
In total microbiota can weigh up to a staggering 2kg, and two-thirds are unique to each individual.
How is gut bacteria linked to weight loss?
Getty – Contributor Studies have shown your gut bacteria can influence your weight
Many people who are trying to lose weight will know it’s a struggle sometimes.
But your gut bacteria could play a key role in your weight.
Healthline explains: “Your gut bacteria can also affect how different foods are digested and produce chemicals that help make you feel full.
“As a result, they can affect your weight.”
A study of 77 twins, where one was obese, showed the overweight one had different gut bacteria from their sibling.
Published in The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, it found the larger twin was found to have less diversity in their gut bacteria, which is thought to have an impact on their weight.
Your gut bacteria ultimately breaks down, digests and absorbs nutrients from the food you eat.
Healthine noted two key types in the gut, saying: “A recent study found that the ratio of two types of bacteria in your intestines may determine how much weight you lose when given a particular diet.
“These two bacteria are Prevotella, which digests fiber and carbohydrates, and Bacteroidetes, which people who eat more animal protein and fat have more of .”
But how what you eat interacts with your gut bacteria can also influence weight loss.