Did you know that you can now get your gut mapped or even what that means? Your gut is your digestive system and the microbiome is the bacteria, viruses and fungi in your gut.
Scientists at Kings College, London have been doing this for years. They have analysed the gut bacteria of 1000's of twins as part of the TwinsUK study led by Professor Tim Spector (in the photo).
With all this data they have built up a massive databank of what types of bacteria are more likely to be present in certain situations. One of the major outcomes has been the finding that a set of twins, one obese and one not obese have different gut bacteria.
Photo: Professor Tim Spector and Joanne Hart
The bacteria (and other organisims) contain genes; these genes are metabolic factories that produce vitamin K, B vitamins, train the immune system and support the integrity of the gut membrane lining (As well as lots more!). A process called 'gene sequencing' will identify the genes that are in your stool sample, which tells you what your microbiome contains.
The positive aspect is that the analysis can tell us personally what foods we should be eating to increase the diversity of the microbiome. These actions could modify our risk of future health issues and improve our current situation.
The science tells us that:
Healthier people tend to have more gut diversity.
More plant diversity leads to more gut diversity.
'If you have the same food everyday,
then as healthy as it is, actually you aren't as healthy as you could be'.
To get you started here are 4 top tips:
Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit.
Aim for 20 to 30 different food each day, more if you can.
More plant diversity leads to more gut diversity, so eat more plants and add your protein to it.
The test may then tell you that to increase the levels of bacteria 'A' in your microbiome, you need to eat more of 'B' (for example).Your friend though may be told to increase the levels of bacteria 'C', they need to eat more of 'D'.