What is it?
The “human microbiome” is a community of more than 100 trillion microorganisms – including bacteria and fungi – that live in our gut, mouth, skin and elsewhere in our bodies. Increasingly, researchers are finding out more about how gut bacteria – particularly the bacteria that is unique to us individually – influence our digestion and health problems such as allergies, cancer and obesity.
How can we keep our gut microbiome healthy?
Individuals with a less diverse gut microbiome had more body fat and higher insulin resistance than those with more bacterial richness, reported scientists in two studies published in Nature. In overweight individuals, a high-fibre diet with lots of fruits and vegetables increased bacterial richness and led to improved symptoms of obesity.
What about antibiotics, which kill good bacteria along with the bad?
A 2012 analysis published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who consumed probiotic products had a lower risk of diarrhoea after using antibiotics. So when antibiotics are necessary, nurture your gut microbiome with yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso soup or dark chocolate which are all high in probiotics.