6 Tips to Support the Gut Microbiome

By Eli Brecher | Jan 31, 2024 | 2 Min Read

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The human body contains 10 times more microbes than human cells – in other words, we are more bacteria than human! The largest assembly of these microbes resides in our gut microbiome – that’s the collection of trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live inside our intestines.


The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, vitamin production (e.g., vitamin K), immune system support and defense against pathogens.


If you’re still not convinced of the importance of gut health, be warned that an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy microbes in the gut microbiome, known as gut dysbiosis, can lead to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.


Ready to take control of your gut health? Follow these tips to start nourishing your gut microbiome. 

The micronutrients are what give our food its colour, so seek out vibrant hues in beetroot, kale, blueberries and sweet potatoes. These foods are rich in polyphenols, which are beneficial compounds found in antioxidant-rich foods.
Aim for a diverse range of plant-based foods, striving for at least 30 different plants a week. As well as fruits and vegetables, this encompasses nuts, seeds, lentils, chickpeas, beans and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat. This approach ensures you meet your daily fiber target of 30 grams, to nourish the gut microbiome and help manage cholesterol levels.
Fermented foods are packed with friendly bacteria that can increase the population of beneficial microbes in our gut. Try incorporating live yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and miso into your diet.
Prebiotics are the food that the good gut bacteria feed off. It helps them to grow, multiply and thrive. Prebiotic fibre can be found in onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus, oats and slightly under-ripe bananas.
It’s not only what you eat that’s important, but how you eat too. Instead of grabbing a sandwich or energy bar on the go, make time to sit down at the table and be present with your food. Try to avoid any technology or distractions, including scrolling on Instagram. Engage all your senses and tune into the tastes, aromas and textures of what you’re eating. Eating slowly and mindfully shifts your nervous system from “fight-or-flight” to “rest-and-digest”, minimising bloating and optimising digestive health, with positive effects on mental health, the immune system, metabolism and more!
Studies have shown that stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga can all benefit gut health, thanks to the strong connection between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis). Find what works best for you, whether it’s a walk in nature, strength training in the gym, or simply enjoying a bubble bath with a glass of red wine (it’s rich in polyphenols after all!)
Remember that a colourful, diverse diet that is rich in fermented foods and fibre (including prebiotic fibre) will help nourish your gut microbiome. Alongside these dietary factors, lifestyle aspects play a key role in supporting gut health, from mindful eating to minimising stress levels and developing techniques to cope when stress creeps in.
Curious about enhancing your gut health? You can explore more insights and tips on our Nutrition Hub – your ultimate resource for nutrition wisdom and wellness.
The author of this article is gut health expert and registered nutritionist Eli Brecher (ANutr), who uses her expertise in the gut microbiome to build healthier habits. You can find more of Eli’s articles and her delicious recipes on our Nutrition Hub.