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A healthy, balanced diet, rich in fibre and low in processed food will ensure you have a diverse microbiome and a well-functioning gut

There is a well-established link between health and a having a diverse range of microbial species living in your gut. These microbes feed on the parts of food that our own bodies cannot digest - insoluble fibre - and they produce substances that are useful for us. For example, they produce vitamin K which we need for blood clotting. They also notably produce short chain fatty acids which is a fuel that makes the cells in our colons function most effectively and so having a healthy gut microbiome is important for the effective functioning of our bowels. They also produce thousands of other substances which our bodies use. However, it has not yet been firmly established which species produce which by-products or what foods to eat to encourage specific species. Nor can we be sure that consuming foods that contain the microbes themselves (probiotics) will permanently increase the population of these in the gut. 

Even if you could cultivate a perfect gut microbiome, there is no evidence that this will bring about weight loss

We do know that eating a diet high in fibre increases microbial diversity. Eating a higher fibre diet is very highly correlated with health for a variety of reasons

  • It lowers cardiovascular disease risk

  • Results in lower body weight

  • Reduces blood glucose

  • Reduces type two diabetes risk


So just eat more fibre and minimise your consumption of highly refined and processed foods – you will improve both microbial diversity and your health

Here is an excellent summary of the evidence from the nutrition science department at Kings College London.

Microscopic image inside the microbiome

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