8 Diet and Lifestyle Choices That Greatly Impact Your Gut Flora
By Daisy Coyle
The human gut is home to more than 100 trillion bacteria, known as the “gut flora.”
Having a healthy gut flora is incredibly important for your overall health.
Interestingly, many diet, lifestyle and other environmental factors can negatively affect your gut bacteria.
What are Gut Bacteria and Why are They Important?
Hundreds of species of bacteria reside in your gut. Some of them are friendly, while others are not.
Most bacteria in the gut belong to one of four groups: Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria or Proteobacteria (1, 2).
Each group plays a role in your health and requires different nutrients for growth (3).
The friendly gut bacteria are important for digestion. They destroy harmful bacteria and other microorganisms and produce vitamin K, folate and short-chain fatty acids (4, 5).
When the gut flora contains too many harmful bacteria and not enough friendly bacteria, an imbalance can occur. This is known as dysbiosis (6, 7).
Both dysbiosis and a reduction in gut flora diversity have been linked to insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer (8, 9, 10, 11).
Therefore, it’s important to keep your gut bacteria as friendly and abundant as possible.
Without further ado, here are eight surprising things that can cause harm to your gut bacteria.