How can a plant-based diet improve one's gut health?

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Have you often heard someone saying, ‘I have a gut feeling about this?’. What does this typically mean? It is your gut health that is being referred to here. Your gut is actually an entire whole world that thrives in your body. Not many of you are aware that there are trillions of bacteria that actually thrive inside the human body. This is quite surprising to hear, isn’t it!

Helping you get deeper insights into the same:

Eating well has a direct impact on taking care of your gut health too. Improper eating habits coupled with stress and sadness can put an undue stress on the body’s gut health too. This is one aspect of your health that cannot be ignored upon.

As trillions of bacteria thrive on your body, they help the body secrete hormones, aid digestion, or even help you through, with your bowel movements. What you eat determines the kind of bacteria that you allow to thrive into your body. The food that you consume multiplies the good bacteria and starves the bad ones. This is how magical the human body is.

Again, if you look at it, the gut microbiome comprising of bacteria, can weigh as much as 2 kilograms put together. No two people have the same composition of gut bacteria. The composition of bacteria in every individual is as unique as your fingerprints.

Gut bacteria from the health point of view

As is seen in the introductory paragraphs, the gut bacteria are primarily responsible for regulating most of your body functions indeed. If you look at it, a primary portion of the body’s immune system actually lies on your GI Tract. This was a primary revelation as brought to us by the world-famous pathologist, Dan Peterson. He works as the assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

According to Dr Peterson’s research analysis, it is determined that your body’s immune system lies on the inside while the bacteria lining the gut cells remain outside. The immune cells also secrete antibodies that continuously get injected into the digestive tract. What is the type of antibodies that get secreted? How is the body able to interact between your immune system and the bacteria? We are still conclusively trying to decide how both of them work in tandem with one another.

Going in for a completely plant-based diet

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If you look at it, meat-eaters happen to have the most harmful bacteria inside their gut. On the other hand, plant-based eaters have the most beneficial gut bacteria inside the body. This is how a vegan diet, or a completely plant-based diet can help you keep most of the infections or bodily ailments at bay.

The harmful bacteria meat-eaters accumulate inside their bodies primarily cause degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases and certain types of Cancer.

How does red meat and other forms of meat predominantly impact your health?

As you must have already seen, harmful bacteria accumulate inside your gut for those of you who are heavy meat eaters. Now, you may wonder how this can adversely affect your health? The undesirable bacteria that a meaty diet secretes is a component known as carnitine. You have this compound that acts as a catalyst for providing you with energy. However, accumulation of carnitine creates one more waste product known as Trimethylamine N Oxide. This can be abbreviated as TMAO.

TMAO is a dangerous by-product that can lead to build up of cholesterol plaques in your blood vessels. This is the primary reason for formation of heart diseases indeed. If you look at a vegan’s gut bacteria, no amount of TMAO is produced. This is especially true when the body reacts to carnitine.

As per the revelations made by the European Journal, consumption of red meat significantly increased accumulation of TMAO inside your bodies. While it is also to be noted that this by-product is much harder for your kidneys to excrete it or expel it off your body. Therefore, it is most likely possible that red meat eaters face kidney complications too in the longer run. Increased accumulation of TMAO levels have also been linked to formation of atherosclerosis and other heart disease complications.

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Insights on IBDs

IBDs refer to Irritable Bowel Diseases. Some of the most common bowel disorders include those of Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and ulcerative colitis. Irritable bowel movements are mainly caused to meat eaters, as a matter of fact. This is mainly because animal protein contains a higher amount of Sulphur. The acids can fume as the result of hormones or acidic substances combining to form sulphuric acid.

As a plant-based eater, you must know that cabbage, beans, and garlic also contain Sulphur. However, the quantities are negligible as compared to animal rich diets. So, bowel irritability and stomach problems arise when there is an excessive consumption of food rich in Sulphur. Crohn’s Disease patients have had relief from painful symptoms of IBDs when they switched over to a completely plant-based diet.

Kind of wholesome foods you must eat in order to improve your gut health

You can include prebiotic foods that allow the good bacteria to invariably multiply. Fiber rich and starchy foods are particularly good as prebiotic diet options. Vegetables, fruits, pulses, nuts, whole grains, and seeds are also highly rich prebiotic foods that allow the good bacteria to grow inside your gut. This way, your gut health can improve by a considerable deal indeed.

Probiotics refer to live bacteria that are allowed to populate inside your gut stream. While this happens, your body is able to establish a better ratio over good to bad bacteria. Naturally fermented foods like plant-based yoghurts, plant-based curds and probiotic supplements can help you add the culture to your gut health.

What do you do after taking antibiotics?

When your body faces bacterial infections, you consume antibiotics. When you consume these pills, the bad bacteria die. But the good bacteria inside the gut also vanishes. Hence, post a sickness of cold, cough or fever, you must have fruits, vegetables, and whole grain diets. This way, you get a considerable dose of prebiotics your body typically needs. Plant based yoghurts or naturally fermented foods can be included as probiotics.


We have seen an overview on how plant-based diet can improve your gut health over meat or dairy consumption. You have also seen how diseases thrive into your body upon accumulation of harmful bacteria inside your gut. With this, the online segment comes to an end! 

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