Know your gut
What’s a microbiome?
Your body is home to trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that help it to function normally. In fact, there are more microbial cells in and on your body than there are human cells, and we call a community of these microorganisms a microbiome.
The biggest microbiome, weighing about as much as your brain, is found in the gut. It changes all the time, and how well it works with your body is affected by things like your diet, stress, how much sleep you get, and the amount you exercise.
Why is the gut microbiome important?
Because your gut is important. Along with being part of your digestive system, the gut provides a home for around 70% of your immune system’s cells, and even uses an enormous network of hormones and electrical and chemical signals to communicate with the brain.
Your gut microbiome is essential to gut health. You probably guessed that it helps with digestion, but there’s more to it than that. It also produces vitamins and metabolises stuff human enzymes can’t handle. Not bad for something you can only see under a microscope.
Scientists are still studying how all this might tie into your overall wellbeing. Some research suggests the health of your gut microbiome could affect your mood, weight, sleep, and more. So far, though, one thing seems certain: a lot goes on in your gut. So, you’d better look after it.
How does fibre help?
Everyone knows that fibre keeps you, ahem, ‘regular’. But did you know fibre helps power your gut microbiome, too?
Fibre comes from plant foods, like vegetables and grains, and every plant is nutritionally unique. So, when you eat a diverse variety of plants, you also eat a wider range of nutrients that help to fuel your microbiome. That’s why it’s important to get the good stuff from lots of different plants – not just one or two.
How much fibre do I need?
Nutritionists in the UK want you to eat 30g of fibre every day, which is a lot. So, it’s no surprise that almost everyone (9 in 10 people) needs more fibre.
To boost the fibre in your diet, start by eating plenty of wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, high fibre breakfast cereals and legumes like beans, lentils and peas. And to make things even simpler, try a scoop of MWELL. Each serve of MWELL Microbiome Powder contains 7g of fibre – that’s ⅕ of your daily recommendation – from three different plants: oats, chicory root, and peas.
Not sure whether you’re getting enough fibre? You can order a gut health testing kit to check out your microbiome, or take our gut health quiz to see how MWELL could help.
Prebiotics and probiotics – what’s the difference?
Prebiotic fibres are a special type of fibre that fuel important bacteria, like Bifidobacteria, in your gut microbiome. You can find prebiotics in foods like wholegrains, beans, onions, chicory root, garlic, and artichokes, though it can be tough to get enough from your diet.
Probiotics are special live bacteria found in things like yoghurt and some fermented foods, and often eaten in supplements. They join and work together with the rest of the bacteria in your gut.
MWELL is packed with prebiotic chicory root, and unlike probiotics, you don’t have to keep MWELL cold for it to work. That means you can stir it into all kinds of recipes, from soups and smoothies to breads and marinades. And when you eat well, your bacteria eat well too.
Want to know more? There’s still a lot to learn about the gut microbiome, and new research is being published all the time. Find some of the latest studies right here.
As you know, gut microbes love fibre. Scientists in the UK have reviewed over 100 years of publications to understand just how much, across the broad fibre family. The 29 different types of fibre reviewed were consistently fermented by gut microbes – with differences in the amount and type of fermentation. This is why it is important to eat a variety of foods containing different fibers (also called plant diversity).Read more
Check out ISAPP’s link for interesting blogs, videos and infographics. ISAPP is an international non-profit organization that champions prebiotic and probiotic science. Their scientific experts steward the field by highlighting and advancing scientific progress, addressing misleading information, and promoting awareness through accurate science based education materials.Read more
Did you know that scientists still don’t know what many of the microbes in our gut do? Scientists from the UK, USA, Australia and Italy have collaborated to use a technique called “metagenomics” to collate a huge database on human gut bacteria from 31 countries. It includes >4600 different species – 70% of these had never been grown in the lab before, and 40% lack functional knowledge.Read more