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What does your gut tell you?

We often hear about gut health and the importance of having a healthy gut. But what is gut health? And what is the difference between gut health and the gut microbiome? Why is it so important? And what can you do to improve your gut health? Scientists are just only discovering the enormous impact of our gut microbiome on our health. Let’s take a closer look.

Gut health and the gut microbiome

Gut health is the state of balance within the digestive system, including the beneficial bacteria that help to keep it functioning properly.

The gut refers to the place where food is digested, metabolized, and absorbed to be delivered into the cells and provide the body with energy.

The microbiome is the collection of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that live in the digestive system and play a vital role in the health of the gut and our overall health. About 100 trillion live bacteria live in our digestive system and consist of approximately 35.000 different strains. The majority lives in the large intestine but bacteria can also be found in the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

What does the microbiome do?

The microbiome helps to break down food, absorb nutrients, eliminate toxins produce vitamins and other essential compounds. The state of our gut health also plays a role in our immune response, mental health, and predisposition to weight gain.

Did you know that 70% of our body’s immune system is situated in our gut? And that serotonin, the feel-good hormone, is produced in the gut?

The total surface of our gut is approximately the size of a small studio apartment. Therefore, diet has such a profound impact on health.

How do you know your gut is not healthy?

If you have chronic digestive issues such as bloating, excessive gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and acid reflux, it could be a sign that your gut is not healthy. Additionally, if you are experiencing skin issues such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis, it can also be an indication that your gut is not healthy.

What affects your gut health?

Your gut health is impacted by a range of different things. From mode of delivery, diet to stress and sleep.

Mode of delivery

Babies born via C-section are exposed to different strains of bacteria as compared to babies born vaginally.

Diet during infancy

Breastfed infants are exposed to more beneficial bacteria from their mothers than formula-fed babies. Interestingly, breastmilk microbiota can vary widely, depending on the mother’s health, BMI, antibiotic use, and diet. The integrity of the gut lining can become compromised if it is constantly being exposed to irritants through the diet or environment. This can cause chronic low-level inflammation and can be the cause of various diseases.

Diet during adulthood

Diet has a profound impact on the types of bacteria that thrive. Organisms that support the breakdown of foods you normally consume flourish, while others perish. Diets that are plant-based are especially supportive of the beneficial organisms in the gut.


Antibiotics work by killing bacteria. Very effective when you’re sick and need help ridding yourself of bad bacteria. But in accomplishing this, they also tend to destroy the good bacteria. One dose of a commonly prescribed antibiotic can wipe out microbial diversity for up to one month.


It takes up to three years for toddlers to colonize their gut microbiome similarly to that of an adult’s. Microbial diversity may also decrease after age 75.


Although much of our gut health has to do with environmental factors, some aspects of the microbiome may be inherited.


Sleep plays an important role in maintaining gut health. Getting enough sleep can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.


Even brief periods of stress have been shown to alter the gut microbiota. Stress can reshape the gut’s bacteria composition through stress hormones and inflammation.


How to support your gut health?

The beautiful thing is that you can start today with positively impacting your gut.

Eat a variety of prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods

Prebiotics are found in certain foods like bananas, onions, garlic, and asparagus that help to feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts found in fermented foods like kombucha, water kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut.

Reduce stress

Stress can have a negative impact on your gut health, so it’s important to find ways to reduce stress in your life. Practices such as meditation, breath work and yoga can help to reduce stress.

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity can help to improve your gut health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Avoid processed and refined foods

Processed and refined foods tend to be low in fiber and contain additives that can be difficult for your body to digest causing inflammation in the gut.

Get enough sleep

Sleep plays an important role in maintaining gut health. Getting enough sleep can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.


Fiber is important for gut health because it helps to keep the digestive system functioning properly. Fiber helps to keep the intestines clean and free of toxins, as well as promoting regularity. Fiber also helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which play an important role in overall health. Additionally, fiber helps to slow down digestion, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin. Finally, fiber helps to add bulk to stools, making them easier to pass.

Eat the rainbow

Choose colorful fruits and vegetables and try to eat 30 different plants, legumes, herbs, nuts and seeds every week.

If you experience digestive issues or want to optimize your gut health, feel free to reach out to me. I can help you. E-mail me: hello@mrsgreen.nl

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