Despite what social media might have you believe, there is no overnight shortcut to better digestive health.
If you walk down the supermarket aisle, you may be tempted with foods marketed as being good for your gut. Then there are the multiple health blogs about improving, supporting or maintaining your “gut health”.
But what does “gut health” mean? Is it the absence of disease? Is it no bloating? Or is it something else entirely? And how strong is the evidence “gut health” products actually make a difference?
A diet full of highly processed foods with added sugars and salt promoted gut microbes linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
A century ago, a few isolated studies found a link between diet and mental health. Now, it’s emerging that the bacteria inside us could be a crucial link between the food we eat and how we feel.
Since you’re seeking the indigestible, whatever it is usually has to be raw – unless it’s an onion.
It’s a weird time for microbes, a sort of interspecies interregnum in which humans have realized that microbes hold way more power than we previously thought but haven’t yet wrested any of it back for ourselves.
The newly fashionable pills and foods meant to increase the variety of healthy bacteria in our bodies can actually have the opposite effect.
A few species of microbe play a crucial role in maintaining the microbiome. From eating wholegrains to breastfeeding, there are many ways to keep them happy.
The microbiome inside our bodies dictates many aspects of our health – and is as individual as we are.
Good evidence in favour of detox diets is lacking.
"Epidemiologically there seems to be some evidence that eating fermented food is beneficial rather than harmful," Knight says. But researchers are still trying to figure out why.
Still, the big question is whether we can actually reshape our microbiomes by changing our diets. "Short term dietary interventions," Leach says, "don't have a dramatic impact." And slightly tweaking your diet probably isn't going to do much either.
Initial search results for probiotics may not tell the full story.
So it should have come as no surprise that the new Goop beauty book contains some very expensive and very you-literally-need-to-be-Gwyneth-Paltrow-to-do-it advice. Even so, I was somewhat naïvely expecting it to be a book about beauty: you know, makeup. Lipstick. Hair, maybe?
How wrong I was. Goop Clean Beauty is primarily a text about the gastrointestinal tract.
If ratio gets out of whack, the same organisms that ensure our well-being can make us sick.
More recently, researchers have shown runners and cyclists produce more endocannabinoids in their blood, which provides some pain relief and improves mood. However, it’s not known whether these changes are short lived or whether they bring about long-term changes in the gut microbiome.
The microbes living inside you hold a subtle sway over both your physical and mental health, explains Megan Rossi. Here’s how to look after your gut microbiome.
Research on the microbiome is still in its infancy. But studies have already found that certain environments, foods and behaviors can influence gut health for better or worse. Here’s why that matters and what you can do to improve yours.
The science around our bodies' "microbiomes" is still quite young — too young to inform medical treatments in most cases. Scientists can't yet draw a direct link between a specific microbe and obesity, or suggest the best diet for the community living in your gut. But what researchers are finding is that these microbes might influence our health far more than anyone realized.
As countries industrialise, their air becomes dirtier – and this could have some far-reaching effects on the beneficial bacteria inside us.
New research sheds light on how eating and sleeping habits can contribute to disease by disrupting the bacteria in the digestive tract.
Keeping your gut happy isn’t all about kombucha. What our interior ecosystem needs to thrive is what springtime provides: beautiful produce. These recipe makeovers give a healthy boost to dishes we’re craving now.
A wave of designer probiotic pills and powders — stylishly packaged, with names like Glow and Inner Beauty — is based on the idea that perfect skin may be linked to your tummy.
Moving to a new country can be challenging, not just for us but also for our bacteria. A compelling new study published in Cell suggests migration between certain countries can profoundly affect the bacteria that live in our digestive systems, with important implications for our health.
Research has shown that having a diverse microbiome – particularly your gut bacteria – has benefits not only for your digestive health, but many other organ systems, and even your brain. That has led to the idea that treatments targeting the microbiome may be able to improve our mental health.
Because you’re almost certainly not getting enough of it.
What should you eat to keep your gut biome in good shape? Some old-fashioned advice, it turns out, may be the key.
UC San Diego School of Medicine’s crowdfunded and crowdsourced effort to study the human microbiome. What’s in your gut?
Launched in 2012 by the Gut Microbiota and Health section of the European Society for Neurogastroenterology and Motility (ESNM), our mission is to share knowledge and promote debate regarding gut microbiota. Our goal is to raise awareness and interest on the gut’s bacterial community and its importance for our health and quality of life, both among the scientific and medical community and society in general.