Gut health and the microbiome By Kate Save and Brooke Norman

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What is it about the gut that impacts our health so drastically?

The body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients plays a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing. This is where the gut and the microbiome come in; the gut harbours trillions of microbial bacteria, which are involved in producing and storing energy, fermentation and absorption of carbohydrates and promoting the maturation of immune cells.

The collection of microbes that live in the human body are termed the microbiota, and the microbiome refers to the complete set of genes within these. These genes significantly impact digestion, mood, brain function and immune function.

Health status, age and exposure to environment all affect the composition of your microbiome. The gut is the frontline of the immune system and a strong microbiome is a diverse one; if there is a disturbance in the balance of bacteria, the body can become more susceptible to disease. Stress, injury, illness and medication also have a role to play, and all affect the individual blend of bacteria in a person’s microbiome.

The key theme of a healthy gut is a diet low in processed sugar and high in fibre. Therefore eating a diverse diet, including complex carbohydrates and fibre, can help to promote a healthy gut microbiome. Including a range of legumes, vegetables, wholegrains, yoghurt, dairy, fish, seeds and nuts may be beneficial in increasing microbial diversity.

At Be Fit Food, we use a minimum of four to 12 vegetables in all of our meals to encourage the growth of good gut bacteria.  We believe it is important to provide a wide variety of plant-based foods at every meal to ensure adequate dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals for optimal gut health. We are even undertaking a three-year research project with Deakin University and its Food and Mood centre to assess the benefits of Be Fit Food on the microbiome. 

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