The human gut contains trillions of bacteria which play a critical role in regulating certain processes for the host/human body, including metabolism, inflammation, and even cancer /tumors.
Some of you may take probiotics on a regular basis, and this is a great thing in maintaining a good flora, but a healthy diet has a big impact on the little bugs living inside you.
Each individual’s microbiome is unique. Even identical twins have different bacteria. Lifestyle choices play a strong role in regulating this microbiome. Medications, diet, tendency to exercise, stress and sleep all influence the microbial communities.
Consumption of vegetables, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids will lead to the presence of more diverse micro-organisms in the gut. If someone does not eat enough fiber, we see a decreased microbial diversity. Quick dietary changes from day to day or week to week does not seem to lead to permanent changes in the micro-biome, only transient changes. In a recent study on mice, and has been shown that a diet rich in fiber has been associated with lower rates of color rectal cancer. This is due not just to the fibers cleaning the colon, but the fiber is thought to interact with the microbiome to produce substances which suppress tumors. Furthermore, a fiber rich diet has been shown to expand the good bacteria and limit the disease causing or pathogenic bacteria in the gut. This improves the health of the gut epithelium.
Incorporating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids also increase microbial diversity in the gut. Such foods include flax, walnuts, Chia seeds, eggs, sardines, salmon, and other cold water fish. Omega-3 supplements also qualify and these can be from Fish, algae, or flax.
Journal of the American college of nutrition. January 2019, volume 38, number 1.