It makes sense, what you eat influences your microbiota, if your long term dietary intake is high in carbohydrates or fat this will alter which bacterial species dominate. The type of the carbohydrate source is also important; i.e. whether it contains high resistant starches. Resistant starch is the name given to soluble fibre that essentially passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. It reaches the colon where it provides food for the beneficial microbes. The challenge is that it is not known for how long you need to alter your diet before you can demonstrate permanent changes to the microbiota. Is it a year? Or is it for life? We have to wait for more research on this.
This is where you may think that eating yoghurt or giving your children a yoghurt drink each day is your bit for the microbe world within you. Well not quite. Whilst we feel that you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from the food in your diet, the modern food supply chain and domination of the sale of groceries by large supermarket chains has altered our diet dramatically. Advances in shelf stability and the global distribution of mass food production means that the nutritive value of our diet has diminished.
In the ideal world your gut should be functioning in optimal condition. However, you can make significant improvements by altering your diet. It is prudent to discuss these dietary changes with a university educated nutritionist or dietician or an integrated healthcare doctor if you are trying to manage a specific health issue whether it is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), dysbiosis or diverticulitis. Do seek professional advice, there is so much research emerging in this field that it is possible to find health professionals encouraging diet as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Some great resources are “The Gut Balance Revolution” by Gerard E Mullin MD, “The Microbiome Solution” by Robynne Chutkan MD and “The Clever Guts Diet” by Dr Michael Mosley.