Increase Gut Bacteria Diversity Heres How

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Let’s talk about how to increase the diversity of what’s called your gut microbiome.

Your gut microbiome comprises trillions of bacteria throughout your entire gastrointestinal tract. These bacteria influence your weight, immune system, and mood. Most of them are found in your lower intestine. Remarkably, they outnumber all the other cells in your body combined

You can see why you want to pay attention to the health of your microbiome.

In this article, I’ll explain:

a word cloud for the phrase gut bugs

Let’s dive in.


Here’s Why Gut Bacteria Diversity Is Important

The obvious question you’re probably asking yourself is, why would you want to increase the diversity of your gut bacteria, anyway?

Turns out, the more diversified your so-caled good microbes are, the more health benefits you experience. You can:

  • Lower your Fat Storing Hormone resistance, which is a serious pre-diabetic state
  • Increase your weight loss
  • Reduce your inflammation, a common factor underlying diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Lower your tendency to allergies by modulating your body’s immune response to allergens
  • Strengthen your immune system, including by boosting the response of its protective responses against pathogens
  • Increase the bioavailability of nutrients in the food you eat; in other words, you get more nutrition from your food

I’m sure you’d agree these are important aspects of your overall health to look after. When you apply the following actions, you too can set yourself up to gain these substantial health benefits.

Ready? Here we go.


6 Simple Ways To Increase The Diversity Of Your Microbiome

#1 Eat Fiber

Eat vegetable fibers, which feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, and help them thrive. They increase in number and kind; in other words, the bacteria diversify. Plus, the more microbes you have in your intestines, the better your digestion.

#2 Eat A Variety Of Vegetables

Instead of eating the same vegetables over and over again, rotate the types of veggies you eat. A simple and effective way to do this is with a large daily salad with different ingredients. The combinations are nearly endless: kale, cabbage, bok choy, chard, spinach, romaine, broccoli, cauliflower, and so forth.

a basket of fresh vegetables

#3 Lose Weight

People who aren’t overweight tend to have more diversity in their gut bacteria than a person who is overweight. Interesting, isn’t it?

It seems that gut bacteria alters the way people store fat, how blood glucose levels are balanced, and how you respond to hormones that make you feel hungry. A mix of unhelpful bacteria can make you prone to obesity; conversely, a diversity of friendly bacteria can help get you and keep you at a normal weight.

#4 Fast (That Is, Don’t Eat For Specific Periods Of Time)

Fasting has been shown to strengthen the friendly bacteria in your gut. They tend to live longer and diversify more when you fast.

a hand-lettered sign that reads Intermittent Fasting

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I’m an ardent proponent of intermittent fasting. Not only is it a powerful tool for losing weight, normalizing Fat Storing Hormone and blood sugar levels, and increasing your energy, but it also turns out to give a huge boost to your beneficial gut bacteria or gut microbes.

Talk about a win-win.

#5 Consume Polyphenols

Polyphenols are micronutrients contained in certain plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, and berries.. They’re loaded with antioxidants and potential health benefits such as improving digestion issues, easing weight management difficulties, and improving diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

Polyphenols are even found in chocolate, coffee, and wine. Of course, I’m not recommending chocolate with sugar. But this is your time to start drinking wine to increase the diversity of your bacteria!

Just kidding - the problem with wine is the alcohol. I’ll explain more in a minute.

#6 Eat Fermented Foods

Consuming fermented vegetables is highly beneficial for your microbiome. Your gut bacteria feast on fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles. These foods are simple to make. Your homemade versions will both introduce more friendly bacteria into your gut as well as provide more of the prebiotic fiber for gut bacteria to eat, than will the store-bought varieties.

Now that I’ve explained the ways you can increase your gut bacteria diversity, let’s take a look at the opposite: things that will decrease it. And therefore, what you should avoid.


What Will Decrease Your Gut Bacteria Diversity

This list of what to avoid so that you don’t decrease your gut bacteria diversity may surprise you. You’ve probably heard of a couple of these, but I’ve expanded beyond the information commonly available in the mainstream media.

: a chart with common good and bad gut bacteria

Here’s the list of things to avoid::

  • Snacking: eating too frequently reduces the diversity in your microbiome - the opposite of fasting. And especially because snack foods are often made up of processed carbohydrates and are laden in sugar and unhealthy fats.
  • Sugar: sugar and refined carbs cause changes to your gut bacteria that can result in inflammation, which as I’ve mentioned is a common denominator in many diseases.
  • Antibiotics: they allow harmful bacteria to flourish in the absence of a large enough beneficial bacteria, which ordinarily take up space that essentially crowds out the bad microbes and prevents them from increasing.
  • GMO foods: the main herbicide used on genetically modified foods is glyphosate, which alters the balance between good and bad gut bacteria. As well, it blocks the production of important amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, along with obstructing neurotransmitters - the molecules used by the nervous system to transmit messages between your brains neurons, or from your neurons to your muscles.
  • Artificial sweeteners: may cause what’s called dysbiosis, which is when the harmful bacteria in your gut overtake the healthy kind, leaving you at risk for obesity, systemic inflammation, and allergies.
  • Being overweight: being overweight is part of a vicious circle. When you’re overweight, your gut bacteria is almost certainly not very well diversified, with too much unhealthy bacteria. Being overweight perpetuates this imbalance; and, on it goes.
  • Stress: can cause a lack of diversity of healthy gut bacteria by a complicated set of interconnected factors including the lack of sleep, gut-clenching tension, and erosion of the protective lining of your gut.

You See How Important It Is To Have Diverse Gut Bacteria

Now that you’ve gotten a good look at the importance of a healthy and diverse gut microbiome, I strongly encourage you to follow the steps I’ve given you.

A healthy gut has been linked to a longer, healthier life - something that’s important to all of us. You’ve now gotten the basic information you need for your gut, and hence you, to thrive.

It’s time to take charge of your gut bacteria. Build the good microbes and minimize the bad.

You’ll be glad you did.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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