Do you know that in your gut, you have more neurons than in a cat's brain?

At the end of last year, I added a Gut Biology Certification by M2 Performance Nutrition to my knowledge collection. This certification covered all, starting from the basic biology of how the gut works and moving through evidence-based approaches to improving gut health through nutrition, lifestyle, and supplementation.

Now that we have entered January and many people are committing to New Year resolutions, including those related to food, that is the moment when this post is going to be helpful.

All you need to know why it's crucial to maintain a healthy gut:

  • Antibiotic use early in life is linked to a large number of health issues later in life through the disruption of the microbiome, such as obesity, asthma and allergies, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

  • The industrialized diet, marked by a substantial decrease in fiber intake and the inclusion of dietary emulsifiers and artificial sweeteners, disrupts the integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, resulting in low-grade inflammation and changes in microbial composition.

  • The microbiome is like a little ecosystem in your body. Taking one type of probiotic could offer some benefits, but making changes in your life, like getting enough sleep, exercising, eating a variety of foods, and managing stress, has a much bigger impact on this ecosystem.

  • Microbial diversity is a perfect thing for our overall health. Hence, a diet dominated by one food group or removing an entire type of food from our diet isn't a great idea for that diversity.

  • The microbiome is responsible for developing and modulating the immune system. In turn, the immune system controls the relevant amounts and composition of the microbiome. It's a feedback loop that keeps going back and forth.

  • The microbiome can impact inflammation, influencing how fat cells store and release energy. This highlights that the traditional idea of calories in vs. out is oversimplified.

  • In a 2000-calorie meal, someone with an efficient microbiome might absorb 95% of the food, whereas another person with less effective microbes may absorb much less as their microbes struggle to break down and fully digest the consumed food.

  • Most serotonin is in the gut, not in the brain, and it impacts mental and digestive health, regulating mood, controlling appetite, and supporting the immune system.

  • If your microbiome is unhealthy, simply restricting calories or cutting out sugar aiming to lose weight may not be effective. Focus on nurturing a healthier microbiome to address cravings and improve your well-being.

  • The bacteria in our gut can influence our actions and make us eat more than we need.

  • It was once believed that anxiety and depression contributed to diarrhea, bloating, upset stomach, etc, but now we know that this is a two-way street involving interactions with the microbiome.

  • Study shows an increase of good bacteria in the guts of marathon runners.

  • Lack of sleep is a major stress that induces substantial amounts of cortisol, increasing leaky gut, inflammation and leading to dysbiosis.

  • While zero-calorie artificial sweeteners may cut down calorie intake, they're linked to overeating, blunt satiety cues, increased inflammation, and the growth of bacteria, contributing to obesity.

  • For lasting effects on your microbiome, consistency is key. A brief switch to a healthy diet for two weeks won't sustain the changes; you need to maintain that lifestyle to keep benefiting from the positive effects of healthy eating.

If you want to get a list of foods and other tips for a healthy gut, send the word HEALTH in the section "What's bothering you" of the "Let's chat" form on my website, and I’ll send you a free guide to your healthy gut.