How a healthy diet affects the gut microbiome

THE human body has a symbiotic relationship with bacteria residing in the intestine — the gut micro­biome. Chronic inflammation can alter its composition, with implications for many chronic diseases. How foods affect gut bacteria is an exciting new area of study.

A large US study, the Human Microbiome Project, revealed that more than 90% of the gut microbiome is made up of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes bacteria, with the balance comprising Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria.1 However, only a fraction have been cultured and