That Gut Feeling: How Your Microbiome Nourishes You


         Around one hundred trillion bacteria live inside our digestive system at any given time. And while you’re probably too busy to be gravely concerned with your gastrointestinal system or the way in which it operates, a segment of medicine is looking into this vast and fascinating system of organisms and its effect on the body’s overall well-being. 

         The bacterial organisms that inhabit the intestines and other digestive organs are known as microbiota, and each of us have a unique gut microbiota. The personal microbial mix is circumstantial, and based on a variety of elements: diet, age, genetics, environment, etc. Why is what’s going on in your gut important? Why should you care about the gut microbiota? Yes, it might be difficult to pronounce, but this infrastructure of good (and sometimes bad) bacteria plays many roles, including: metabolizing nutrients from food and medications; serving as a defensive blockade against intestinal infections, and producing vitamin K, which helps create blood-clotting proteins.

         When it comes to giving your gut what it needs, first and foremost: probiotics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that can deliver several health benefits, from treating a variety of digestive issues to maintaining a lean body weight. Some common examples include: yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh. Bring out the charcuterie board! Certain aged cheeses containing live and active cultures are great sources of probiotics.

Because the process of fermentation involves bacteria and yeast, fermented foods and drinks usually contain the necessary items to ensure gut health. One example of this is kombucha, otherwise known as fermented tea. If you’re looking for a drink with all-natural, organic ingredients that is raw, vegan, and gluten free, try Upstart Kombucha, whose bottles are packed with vitamins and probiotics.

         Gut health doesn’t have to begin and end with probiotics, however. There are numerous foods containing nutrients that promote digestive health. From raspberries to artichokes and broccoli, most fruits and vegetables maintain a healthy microbiota. Try a fresh fruit salad or the power greens mix from Etai’s

Other examples include beans and legumes – chickpeas and lentils and whole grains. Try the chickpea quinoa salad or the vegan lentil bisque from Vert Kitchen. They’re all high in fiber, which is digested by bacteria in your gut; therefore, it stimulates their growth, acting as a prebiotic.

         Our guts are mysterious, and as indicated: idiosyncratic. More than you realize is occurring in there, and a war is being waged between the good bacteria and the bad. By incorporating these foods and drinks into your diet, you’ll be on the right side in ensuring your health. Go with your gut!