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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2016 > How that Gut Feeling Really Affects you

How that Gut Feeling Really Affects you

Look after your gut and it will, in turn, look after more than just your digestive comfort… New research shows it can help with mood and anxiety, too

WE ALL KNOW the effect our emotions can have on our gut. The way an interview or stressful meeting, a family row or even change in surroundings can influence what goes on in our bowels. But our digestive system plays a greater role in maintaining our general wellbeing than we give it credit for.

On average, the gut is home to more than 1,000 types of some 100 trillion microbes or bacteria. This colony of bacteria is known as the microbiome. It isn’t harmful. Quite the opposite, actually: its existence is vital to our overall health.

The inside story

THE PRECISE COMBINATION and amount of bacteria that make up the microbiome is unique to each of us, but scientists have discovered a core set of functions the microbiome performs among healthy people. It extracts and creates nutrients from the food we eat, programmes the immune system and strengthens and maintains the gut wall, blocking outside invaders such as viruses that can cause disease.

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About Healthy Food Guide

This month our experts advise on looking after your gut health, the foods that can ease menopause symptoms, and whether the low fat diet is still relevant. Plus, we share the latest research on coconut oil, tasty lower sugar bakes and innovative ways to use up your leftover roast