Getting To Know Your Gut Better- Learning About The Gut Microbiome

by | Jul 3, 2022 | Life

Role of the gut microbiome in digestion

The gut microbiome refers to the microbes in the gut, which play a vital role in several body functions. Your gut harbors trillions of bacteria that help digest food by synthesizing bile acids. 

Your mother transports microbes through the birth canal, and your exposure to the microbes determines your gut microbial composition. Good bacteria in the gut enhance your health.  

Gut microbiome function 

Eubiosis refers to a balanced gut microbiome, whereas dysbiosis is an imbalance in the gut microbiome. During dysbiosis, harmful bacteria override the good bacteria and cause an imbalance. 

Gut microbiome imbalance contributes to many gastrointestinal disorders. Your food consumption diversifies the microbial composition of your gut, thereby stimulating health or disease. 

Role of the gut microbiome in nutrition and health 

Bifidobacterium lactis in the gut digests lactose in the milk. These bacteria prevent constipation, diarrhea, and other intestinal disorders. It also improves gut health and is efficient in treating irritable bowel syndrome. 

One should consume fermented foods such as miso and kefir to retain healthy gut bacteria.  

 Healthy microbiome 

Leptin is a hormone that balances food intake and energy you spend. The hormone initiates weight loss by suppressing appetite and helps in balancing energy. In contrast,  Ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, triggers a hunger response, and its low levels will satiate you. 

The gut microbiome influences and modulates the production of these hormones, thus maintaining your energy balance by regulating the food intake. By consuming probiotics and enhancing the gut microbial diversity, one can reduce food cravings and maintain a balanced gut microbiome.

Gut bacterial impact on health and diseases

Good gut bacteria stimulate the synthesis of some chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are important for brain function. Endorphins and serotonin are two such essential neurotransmitters that promote happy feelings and overall well-being.

Gut-brain connection indicates stomach disorders have an impact on your mind. 

Your mood fluctuates, which affects your mental stability. Mental health is essential for productivity and quality of life. You have heard about gut feelings, sensing something wrong about a person or place, which are sensations triggered by your gut bacteria. The gut feeling is true most of the time.

Bad gut bacteria 

Avoid consuming foods that harm the gut, such as processed and junk foods. Processed foods can increase bad bacteria in the gut, causing an increase in blood sugar levels, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Instead, eat more fiber-rich foods such as salads, legumes, asparagus, and celery. 

Signs of a healthy gut 

  •  Devoid of bloating and gas
  •  Free from constipation
  •  Ease in digestion
  •  Devoid of acid reflux, acidity, and heartburn

 Symptoms of an unhealthy gut 

  •  Acne, psoriasis
  •  Skin rashes
  •  Recurrent diseases
  •  Autoimmunity
  • GI disorders

Best foods for a good mood  

Gut Microbiome
  • Spinach
  • Raspberries
  • Oatmeal
  • Custard apples
  • Foods rich in fibers 
  • Include curd and fermented foods in your diet 
  •  Fruits and vegetables.
  •  Foods rich in polyphenols. 
  •  Avoid sugar and refined food substances.
  •  Limit junk food.
  •  Eat plant derivatives like soya.

Sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, tempeh. Fermented foods improve mood-stabilizing emotions and promote mental health.

Healthy foods like onion, garlic, bananas, and legumes contain vitamins B6 and C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. They help in giving the body sufficient nutrients for mood enhancement. Fatty acids also help to regulate appetite by metabolizing proteins. 

Role of gut microbiota in health and immunity

Prebiotics are foods that help to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. They include many fibrous foods. Prebiotics are present in plants and plant-based foods, starch, and fiber.  

Probiotics are foods and supplements that support immune system function to fight against infections. They can be consumed regularly to enhance the function and growth of good bacteria in your gut. 

 Importance of probiotics 

  •  Support digestion
  •  Help in Vitamin synthesis
  •  Maintain the integrity of the gut cellular lining 
  •  Metabolism of medicines and their absorption.

Benefits of probiotics influencing the gut microbiome  

Probiotics help balance the gut microbiome. The balance will prevent bad bacteria from overriding good bacteria and keeping infections at bay. Stress induces a fight or flight response increasing blood sugar levels. An increase in blood sugar levels, in turn, causes diabetes and obesity. Probiotics help the good bacteria in the gut to produce serotonin and keep the stress levels down.

Bacteria such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and  Lactobacillus gasseri reduce belly fat. 

One should eat pickles, tempeh, and soy products to enhance good gut bacteria. 

 Prebiotics influencing gut microbiome 

Eating almonds, chickpeas, fruits, vegetables, and garlic benefits the growth of good bacteria. Taking supplements for increasing good bacteria will help as your gut microbiome decreases with age. 

What kills good gut bacteria 

  •  Refined food consumption decreases the fiber and dehydrates your body. 
  • Food enriched with fats and salt reduces fiber, increasing cardiovascular ailments. 
  • Less water intake causes bloating, and decreased fiber slows digestion. 
  • A leaky gut reduces intestinal compactness, and this happens when cells in the intestine loosen and toxic substances with undigested/ partly digested food enter the bloodstream. 
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol, caffeine, white sugar, dairy products, and artificial sweeteners to prevent leaky gut symptoms. 

Leaky gut symptoms

  •  Chronic diarrhea
  •  Gas, bloating
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Skin issues 

 Fixing a leaky gut 

 Consume foods rich in fiber and stay hydrated. 

 Gut bacteria for mental health 

 Lactobacillus acidophilus 

 Lactobacillus rhamnosus

 Lactobacillus lactis

Harmful gut bacteria 

 Clostridium botulinum

  Bacillus cereus

 Campylobacter jejuni 

 Listeria monocytogenes

Research indicates that certain bacteria like Lactobacillus rhamnosus protect your mental health. The bacteria help in regulating emotions.  

A majority of your immune system is in the gut. Your food intake strengthens or weakens your immune system causing health or disease. 

Factors affecting the gut microbiome

  • Environmental factors 
  • Sleep 
  • Meditation
  •  Exercise
  •  Healthy diet 

 Role of gut bacteria in digestion 

Foods abundant in polyphenols have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial properties. Consumption of tea, coffee, and wine will increase polyphenols in your system. 

Polyphenols support the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Polyphenols’ antioxidant properties help treat gut inflammation, preventing digestive ailments. A good gut microbiome thus improves digestion, regulates blood sugar, and protects against many diseases.

To summarize

Be attentive to the diet to maintain your health. The gut microbiome helps in nutrition, physiology, and immunity. Know your gut to know your health. 

Optimum digestive function is essential for holistic health, and a healthy gut microbiota supports healthy digestion to maintain good health. For more information on nutrition and health, download the Joyscore app

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Dr. Bob Singhal

Professor Bhupendra 'Bob' Singhal, has taught creativity by joy and right-brain thinking, is a renowned international architect, won major design competitions, has over 70 awards, publications, and media mentions, and served as President of the American Institute of Architects South Bay. In 2011, in his book Joy in Health and Happiness: Your Optimal Path to Success, Professor Singhal wrote about the transformative power of joy and helped readers learn to enhance their daily experience of it.


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