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Gut health and your microbiome.

Naturopaths and Nutritionists have been taking care of gut health since forever and you may have noticed that gut health is getting a lot of mainstream airplay lately and for good reason as having a healthy gut is super important for overall good health.

What is gut health?

Gut health is a huge topic as the gut itself is huge! The gastrointestinal tract (GIT for short) is comprised of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, the small and large intestine and the GIT’s friends who are known as the accessory organs – the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. If any part of the GIT is compromised, overall health may be less than optimal. What is often considered the biggest driver of gut health is the types and numbers of bacteria that live in the GIT. This is known as the microbiome or microbiota.

Why is the microbiome so important?

The diversity and numbers of the bacteria in the microbiome is pivotal to health for a large number of reasons, a lot of which science is only just beginning to understand. A lack of bacterial diversity in the GIT is associated with a number of health conditions including:

Inflammation throughout the body

Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes


Hormonal imbalance

Immune dysregulation

Eczema and asthma

Food allergies and intolerances

Non- alcoholic fatty liver disease

Anxiety and depression

Autoimmune diseases

Chronic fatigue syndrome

IBS, SIBO and other GIT conditions

What can cause dysbiosis?

A lack of bacterial diversity in the GIT is known as dysbiosis. There a number of factors that may contribute to dysbiosis including:

Medications such as the oral contraceptive pill, antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, chemotherapy and radiation

Low fibre diet, low plant foods diet, high fat- low carb diets, high protein-low carb diets, keto diets and processed foods and additives

High stress levels

Alcohol consumption

Water that has chlorine and fluoride

Eating a limited number of foods and eating them every day

What can promote better gut health?

One of the major keys to improving gut health is to promote diversity in the microbiome through the types of foods eaten. Certain types of foods feed the microbiome and are known as pre-biotics. Foods that promote diversity include:

A diet high in plant based foods

High fibre wholefoods

Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds

Whole grains



Green tea

Aiming to eat at least 40 different plant foods each week

Moderate exercise and adequate sleep are also important for microbiome diversity.

Fermented foods such as sauerkrat, kombucha, kefir etc may temporarily improve the diversity of the microbiome but many people with gut health issues also have problems with breaking down histamine and fermented foods are high in histamine.

Where to get help with gut health?

There is so much information (and misinformation!) that it is hard to know if that information is right for you and your health condition. As always, naturopathy and nutritional medicine aims to treat the individual with tailored treatment options. Naturopaths and Nutritionists have been working at the coal face of gut health for a long time and are an excellent resource if you are needing to sort out your personal gut health issues.

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