They say "You are what you eat", but it's not that simple.
It's not as snappy, but it should be "Your gut health depends on what you eat", because both your mental and physical health are directly affected by the health of your gut and its microbiome.
Every healthy body had colonies of micro-organisms inhabiting every square centimetre. However, it's in your gastrointestinal tract - or gut - that the largest colonies of this flora can be found.
It's these colonies or communities of flora that, when combined with their entire environment and products they produce, form your microbiome and each persons' microbiome that is unique to them.
If you are ill, it may well be due to an imbalance in your gut bacteria - or even a complete lack of a certain strain of bacteria. Which means you are able to directly affect this imbalance - and the best way to do this is through your diet.
However, simply knowing that diet is important isn't enough, to maintain good gut health you need to eat foods that support your gut health.
It's not that difficult, either. You are aware already that refined sugar, trans-fats and processed foods are bad for your health because of their profile in the news. Well, they're bad for your gut health, too.
But you need to be aware of both the "good" and "bad" bacteria in your system.
The "good" bacteria feed on plant-based foods such as apples, onions, garlic, bananas and oats.
The "bad" bacteria, though, love sugar. So when you eat refined sugar, it's the bad gut bacteria that grow and thrive until they begin to overwhelm the good bacteria.
And this results in diseases such as type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases and Heart disease.
Fermented goods can help provide balance to your gut bacteria. Foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, apple cider vinegar, and dark chocolate feed the good gut bacteria in your system.
If you add these to your diet and, at the same time, reduce the number (and amount) of refined sugars you consume, you'll be making a big step towards keeping your microbiome (and you) healthy and happy