Trillions of bacteria live in your digestive tract and play an important role in health. ... A healthful plant-based diet improves the health and diversity of your gut microbes, preventing and treating conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases.
Gut Microbiome is home to bacteria in your digestive tract. Bacteria help break down food and turn nutrients into building blocks your body can use. They stop growing when they run out of food, so you'll only have what you need with the food you provide your system.
You get your gut microbiome from your mother at birth, and the world around you affects it as you grow up. It’s also influenced by what you eat. That’s why it can be different depending on where you live -- and why you may be able to tilt the balance a bit.
In the gut microbiome, the “good” bacteria do more than just help with digestion. They help keep your “bad” bacteria in check. They multiply so often that unhealthy bacteria won’t grow. Studies have found that if you have too much of a certain kind of bad bacteria in your gut microbiome, you're more likely to have:
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Researchers are looking into new treatments for them that target the bacteria in the gut microbiome. When you have a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, it’s called equilibrium.
Your brain sends messages all over your body and researchers believe your gut may talk back. Studies show that the balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome may affect your emotions and the way your brain processes information from your senses, like sights, sounds, flavors, or textures.
An unhealthy balance in your gut microbiome may cause crossed signals from your brain when it comes to feeling hungry or full. Researchers think there may be a link to the pituitary gland, which makes hormones that help set your appetite. That gland can affect the balance of bacteria in your gut, too. Scientists suspect that changes in gut microbiome balance may also play a role in diseases like autism, anxiety, and depression, as well as chronic pain.
Probiotics are one way to help balance gut health. Probiotics are considered “good” bacteria like the ones already in your gut that can add to the bacteria in your intestinal tract and help keep everything in balance. But they’re not all the same. Each type works in its own way
Probiotics can make your immune system stronger. They may boost gastrointestinal health, too, especially if you have something like irritable bowel syndrome. Some probiotics also may help ease allergy symptoms and help with lactose intolerance. Gut microbiomes are unique, if and how they work can be different for everyone.
You can find Probiotics in dairy products like yogurt and aged cheeses. Look on the ingredients list for live cultures of bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. They're also in fermented vegetables, like kimchi and sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, like onions and gherkins.
Prebiotics are the food source for probiotics. They may help your body take in calcium better and boost the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut.
They’re found in fruits and vegetables, like:
You can also get them in foods with whole wheat.
Probiotics can boost the growth of good bacteria, and prebiotics are good for probiotics. When you combine the two, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The idea behind them is to help probiotics live longer. You can make symbiotic combinations with things like bananas and yogurt or stir-fry asparagus with tempeh.