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.
Each group plays a role in your health and requires different nutrients for growth (3).
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.
1. Not Eating a Diverse Range of Foods
Generally, a rich and diverse gut flora is considered to be a healthy one (12).
A diet consisting of a wide variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can lead to a more diverse gut flora. In fact, changing up your diet can alter your gut flora profile after only a few days (12, 15, 16).
This is because the food you eat provides nutrients that help bacteria grow. A diet rich in whole foods provides your gut with a variety of nutrients that help promote the growth of different types of bacteria, resulting in a more diverse gut flora.
Unfortunately, over the past 50 years, much of the diversity in the Western diet has been lost. Today, 75 percent of the world's food supply comes from only 12 plants and five animal species (12).
Their diets are generally unaffected by the Western world and are rich in fiber and a variety of plant protein sources.
Summary: A diet lacking in a variety of different whole foods can result in a loss of gut flora diversity. This may have a number of negative health effects.