In recent years, you may have heard more about the importance of gut health. That’s because research has identified a community of helpful bacteria that thrives in your large intestines. This community of bacteria is called the gut microbiome, and it influences digestive health, immune functioning, metabolic health, and even communicates with the brain. Here are a few things you can do to keep your gut microbiome healthy.

Choose a Broad Range of Colors

Eating vegetables and fruits that have brightly colored skin can help you maintain better gut health by providing your body with nutrients that the bacteria in your gut needs to thrive. Additionally, the brightly colored skins of these foods get their pigmentation from polyphenols, which are comprised of powerful antioxidants. Those antioxidants help to protect you from a variety of medical conditions, including hypertension, high cholesterol, and cancer.

Eat Fermented Foods Regularly

You can build up the population of bacteria in your gut by eating fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. These foods contain probiotics, which are the microorganisms that make up the gut microbiome. By eating more foods that contain these microbes, you’ll be building up a stronger and healthier gut. Kefir and kombucha are other fermented foods that you can add as normal parts of a healthy diet. If you can’t find fermented foods in your usual grocery store, visit area health food stores, or order these products online.

Avoid Processed Foods

By the time a processed food reaches the store shelves, it has gone through a manufacturing process that adds preservatives, color additives, sugar, and other harmful products to the mix. As a result, processed foods are unhealthy for the body as a whole. In terms of gut health, these foods add more unhealthy bacteria to your gut microbiome, which inhibits the ability of the helpful gut bacteria to thrive, reproduce, and benefit the rest of the body.

As you follow these suggestions, keep in mind that a more diverse gut microbiome will help you maintain better health. You can build up a diverse community of helpful bacteria by eating a broader range of natural foods. In particular, look for foods with high nutritional content and natural fiber. A healthier gut can help you enjoy a longer and better quality of life.