Skip to content
menu icon

Diverse diet boosts gut health

Diet is a key influence in shaping the gut microbiome and associated health outcomes.
Photo: GRDC

A healthy gut can support overall wellbeing and reduce the risk of disease. The gut, or the gastrointestinal system, includes the stomach, intestines and colon and influences other parts of the body, such as the immune and endocrine systems, brain and heart. While the term ‘gut health’ is undefined, scientific literature suggests it incorporates digestive and immune health.

At the core of the gut lies the gut microbiome, a complex ecosystem housing trillions of microorganisms and more than 1000 diverse species of gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome supports digestion and absorption of nutrients from food while expelling waste and supporting overall health.

Diet is a key influence in shaping the gut microbiome and associated health outcomes. While no specific diet or food improves gut health, increasing dietary fibre intake, predominantly found in vegetables, fruits, wholegrain bread and cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds, is one of the most effective ways to diversify the microbiome's composition and improve gut health.

Microbiome diversity

A diet rich in these foods helps maintain microbiome diversity and can reduce the risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Research suggests that individuals should consume a variety of plant foods to ensure adequate fibre intake and greater microbial diversity. To add variety to your diet, try adding different coloured fruits, vegetables and legumes, along with a variety of wholegrains, such as brown or wild rice, quinoa or freekeh, to your plate.

Another simple way to include more plant foods into your diet is to consume mixed products, such as cans of mixed beans, brown rice and quinoa, salad leaf mixes and frozen fruit mixes.

By increasing the variety of your diet, you can improve your gut health and overall wellbeing.

More information: Toni Gam,

back to top