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Clinical Nutrition Services

Nutrition for Gut Health

The human body is covered with microorganisms, including the skin, the lungs and other internal organs and throughout the digestive tract. The most populated area is our gut with over 100 trillion microorganisms found. These microorganisms, which mostly consist of bacteria, have genes just like our own cells and this is called the microbiome. Due to the high number of microorganisms in the gut, our bodies may be made up more from bacteria than human genes.

The gut microbiome has many functions in our bodies from digesting nutrients, regulating how energy is used, supporting our immune system, and sending hormonal cues to the brain that control our hunger and mood. Factors that affect the gut start as early as birth and continue to change due to environment, stress and medications.

Any changes in the gut that cause a decrease in beneficial microorganisms, increase in unwanted microorganisms, or reduction in the diversity of microorganisms can have poor effects on our health. These altered gut microbiotas are often found in those with inflammatory bowel disease, skin diseases like dermatitis, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression.

The good news is we may be able to improve gut health by eating foods that benefit good microorganisms and support our immune system. Fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, polyphenols and Omega-3 fatty acids are five types of nutrients that can help to keep our gut healthy.

Types of Nutrients

Food Sources