The gut is host to a wide range of resident micro-organisms, some of which help us break down food, produce nutrients and fight infection. Although bacteria are a major component of the human microbiota, viruses, fungi and archaea are also members of the community.

When this diverse system is out of balance due to stress, a change in our diet or even moving to another country, disease can set in. Understanding this dynamic and diverse terrain can be a key to overall health.

Interestingly the guts of people in the West who consume a lot of animal fats and proteins are largely dominated by the Bacteroides species. The guts of people who follow a plant-based diet contain lots of Prevotella species.

There’s no doubt that our modern sedentary lifestyles, which are disconnected from nature, are killing off many species of microbes and making us sick. Altering the terrain of gut microbial communities requires knowledge of how they work.

In this article, we’ll discuss five ways to improve the gut environment as well as getting into why you’d want to alter your gut microbiome in the first place.