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Gut-friendly diet: what is it actually?

December 23rd, 2021  

Gut friendly diet:

Many people make a new year’s resolution to eat healthier. Unfortunately, this resolution is usually discarded after a few days or weeks. This is often not due to a lack of discipline, but simply because of the wrong approach. Many have the feeling that they are only allowed to eat salad and have to cut out many foods. Because of the renunciation and certain deficiencies, cravings develop and the result can be eating attacks. This is where a vicious circle begins.

To eat healthy does not mean to keep to a restrictive diet. Instead, it is a way of eating in the long-term. A gut-friendly diet can help to keep your gut and thus the entire body healthy. A gut-friendly diet has nothing to do with restricting yourself.

But what is a gut-friendly diet actually and what to put on your plate?

Is a gut-friendly diet only for people with digestive or intestinal problems?

We will explain!

What is a gut-friendly diet anyway?

A gut-friendly diet is a long-term diet that provides the best possible care for the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome includes all the bacteria and living organisms in the gut. A healthy microbiome is the key to a healthy gut and a healthy body. The bacteria influence metabolism and body weight, mental and physical well-being, how ingested food is utilised, whether there is a tendency to diarrhoea, constipation or flatulence, how strong the immune system is, on the course and development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s as well as inflammatory bowel diseases such as leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, the microbiome influences skin-, liver-, heart- and joint health, as well as inflammation.

A gut-friendly diet is not only beneficial for people who are affected by intestinal diseases or suffer from intestinal complaints. A gut-friendly diet can prevent disease and improve quality of life by increasing energy and general health. Therefore a gut-friendly diet is beneficial for everybody. Because your health starts in your gut!

Why is the right diet so important for a healthy gut?

Our nutrition has a direct influence on the composition of the microbiome and is one of the most important factors for a healthy intestinal flora and a healthy gut.

It is not only our bodies that need nutrients from our food to stay healthy. Certain nutrients are also necessary for the 10,000 living organisms in our digestive tract to ensure their survival and growth.

A healthy microbiome can be built and maintained through proper nutrition.

The most important components of a gut-friendly diet:

Dietary fibre and other indigestible food components

Eating fibre and other indigestible food components can help maintain a healthy balance of the microbiome. Many health-promoting bacteria feed on indigestible food components convert them into short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, acetate and propionate.

These fatty acids have many positive effects on the gut and the entire body. Butyrate is an important substance for keeping the mucosa (intestinal lining) healthy and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Acetate and propionate are absorbed into the bloodstream and are needed for fat, glucose and cholesterol metabolism.

Regular consumption of dietary fibre can increase the growth of beneficial bacteria. The result is increased production of health-promoting short-chain fatty acids.

Fibre can also help to eliminate toxins from the body, prevent digestive problems such as constipation, reduce inflammation and prevent cravings and a rapid rise in blood sugar.

If too little fibre is consumed, the intestinal barrier can thin out. The growth of the bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron is promoted, which metabolises parts of the intestinal mucosa in a low-fibre diet and therefore thins it out.

Good sources of fibre are:

  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Nuts and seeds

Pre- and probiotics

Pre- and probiotics can also have a positive impact on gut health.

Prebiotics are foods that contain plant fibres that cannot be digested by the human digestive tract. Similar to dietary fibres, these fibres are getting fermented in the large intestine by the resident bacteria and serve as food for them. Prebiotic foods are for example: Chicory, artichokes, bananas, oats, barley, garlic, asparagus, leeks and dandelion leaves.

When the term probiotics is mentioned, many immediately think of food supplements in capsule or powder form. But there are also natural probiotics. Probiotic foods contain living organisms that are beneficial to health. These microorganisms can pass through the digestive tract alive and can accumulate in the large intestine. This can increase the proportion of health-promoting intestinal inhabitants and counteract dysbiosis (= imbalance of the intestinal flora). Probiotic foods include: yoghurt, fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut and kombucha, vinegar and cheese.

Varied & balanced

One of the most important factors of a gut-friendly diet is to eat as varied and balanced as possible. By eating a wide variety of foods, a high diversity can be built up in the gut. A high diversity means, that there are many different microorganisms located in the gut. This has a positive effect on the intestine.

A one-sided diet feeds only certain bacteria, while starving others. This can greatly reduce diversity and can lead to digestive and intestinal problems.

Plant-based foods

Your gut can especially benefit from a high plant content. In addition to fibre, plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruit also provide important vitamins, minerals and other bioactive substances that can support your gut perfectly.

In addition, the consumption of plant protein such as pea protein promotes the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the intestine. These bacteria increase the production of health-promoting short-chain fatty acids.

Healthy fats

Not all fats are the same. While saturated fatty acids and trans fats should not be consumed in excess in a gut-friendly diet, unsaturated fatty acids are absolutely necessary for your body and must be taken in with food.

Omega-3 fatty acids in particular can ensure a healthy composition of the microbiome and promote the production of anti-inflammatory substances. Good sources of omega-3 are: Linseed oil, fatty fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, algae oil and chia seeds.

These food components can cause imbalances in the gut:

A gut-friendly diet is not a diet where you have to completely avoid certain foods. However, it is very beneficial for the gut not to eat certain food components in excess.

Excessive consumption of the food ingredients listed below can lead to a proliferation of unfavourable bacteria or cause an imbalance in the gut that can weaken the intestinal lining and promote inflammation.

  • Saturated fatty acids and trans fats
  • Highly processed foods and products
  • Simple sugars and refined sugars
  • Additives such as artificial sugar substitutes, preservatives and emulsifiers
  • High salt consumption
  • High alcohol consumption

Microbiome food – recipes for your gut bacteria:

Diet forms the basis of a healthy microbiome. When you feed your gut bacteria the right food, you contribute to a healthy balance of your microbiome and help you feel better.

We know how hard it can be to find gut-friendly recipes on the internet, so we’ve created a recipe book for you. This saves you a long search for suitable recipes and gives you access to a selection of wholesome, gut-friendly dishes and desserts for every occasion.

In addition to the delicious recipes, you will also receive additional nutritional knowledge and an introduction to fermentation. For example, you’ll learn whether cholesterol is good or bad for your body, how you can increase the iron absorption in the body and whether nightshades like potatoes and aubergines can be toxic.

You will also get the best tips for a gut-friendly diet in everyday life from the myBioma founders Dr. Barbara Sladek and Dr. med. univ. Nikolaus Gasche!

We want to prove that a gut-friendly diet is easy to implement and absolutely not boring!

Starting today, you will receive a fabulous -50% discount on our recipe book “Microbiome Food – Recipes for Your gut bacteria” for the entire month of January. So you can start the new year with a good gut feeling!

The direct link to the eBook and 40 delicious recipes can be found here: Microbiofood – Recipes for your gut bacteria.

On our blog you can find more exciting articles about the microbiome, the gut and gut-friendly nutrition. You might also be interested in: Sugar & microbiome: the fatal effects

Cookbook: Microbiome Food: Recipes for your gut bacteria

Referenzen:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung. Mehr Ballaststoffe bitte! Ballaststoffzufuhr lässt sich im Alltag leicht steigern. DGE (2012). https://www.dge.de/presse/pm/mehr-ballaststoffe-bitte/?L=0&cHash=de74871cb8220ba3050ddd99040f0831

Gentile, C. L., & Weir, T. L. The gut microbiota at the intersection of diet and human health.Science (2018),362(6416), 776–780. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aau5812

Gill S K, Rossi M, Bajka B, Whelan K. Dietary fiber in gastrointestinal health and disease. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology volume 18, pages 101–116 (2021). Doi: 10.1038/s41575-020-00375-4

Hinterberger C. Darmgesundheit und Ernährung. Ein gastrosophisches und ernährungsmedizinisches Therapiekonzept. Universität Salzburg (2018). https://eplus.uni-salzburg.at/obvusbhs/content/titleinfo/2795402/full.pdf

Holscher H D. Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Tylor & Francis Online 8:2, 172-184. Doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756

Rinninella, E., Cintoni, M., Raoul, P., Lopetuso, L. R., Scaldaferri, F., et al. Food Components and Dietary Habits: Keys for a Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition.Nutrients (2019),11(10), 2393. Doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102393

Sánchez-Tapia M, Tovar A, Torres N. Dieta s a Regulator of Gut Microbiota and its Role in Health and Disease. ScienceDirect 50, 259-268 (2019). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2019.09.004

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