Ask pretty much any doctor and they will tell you that maintaining a well balanced diet is good for you for many reasons. One of those benefits that might not be common knowledge is that a diverse diet of whole foods, fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, beans, and limited meat intake can affect the bacteria in your gut. This gut flora, which consists of an estimated 100 trillion bacteria serves an important role in protecting the body against infection and building your immune system.

What Is Gut Flora?

Gut flora is a community of microorganisms within the digestive tract. It is crucial to proper digestion as well as a host of other bodily functions. Although it resides in the digestive tract, the bacteria isn’t just there to help with breaking down food. It is actually responsible for a lot of the functions that impact your health and wellness. Weight and metabolism have been connected to proper gut flora, and obese people have less diversity of gut bacteria than those who are at a healthy body weight. Studies have also indicated that those who have diets high in fat and cholesterol, which are connected to a risk of heart disease, have high levels of a compound in their stomach that causes them to be more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. A variety of gut bacteria also boosts your immune system and helps you stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Some studies have indicated a connection between proper gut health and reduction in anxiety and depression.

Can I Improve My Gut Bacteria?

All these benefits of proper gut flora sound great, but how can you change the basic makeup of it? In addition to a diverse diet, it is also important to limit sugar as well as artificial sweeteners. Fermented foods like plain yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, or tempeh have been shown to improve your system as well, even reducing inflammation and lactose intolerance. Finally, you can supplement your diet with a probiotic pill or powder, which can help restore gut flora to good health. Always check with your doctor before adding supplements.Make an appointment with Carolina Digestive Health Associates today if you are interested in learning more about how a properly functioning digestive system can improve your life.