The health of your gut microbiome is one of the most revealing indicators of what’s really going on in your digestive system.

Nurturing these trillions of micro-organisms will not only support good gut health, but the microbiome is closely connected to your mental health and well-being as well. 

Whether you’re following the low FODMAP diet or want to know more about how to improve your gut health to reduce your IBS symptoms, here’s how you can help your microbiome thrive. 

What is the gut microbiome?

Gut microbiome is made up of a colony of trillions of micro-organisms, primarily bacteria, that live in our gastrointestinal tracts, mainly in the large intestine. Ensuring your gut microbiome is thriving is vital for good gut health because these colonies keep your digestive system happy and healthy. 

A well-functioning gut is also linked to positive mental health, with 95% of our body’s serotonin—the happy hormone—produced by gut microbiome. This means a thriving microbiome plays a significant role in mood stabilization, as well as improved sleeping patterns.  

When your gut health has gone awry and there’s an upset in the balance of your microbiome, better known as dysbiosis, it may lead to health concerns.

Helping gut microbiome thrive

Our gut microbiome thrives on diversity, and strong research confirms the link between a varied, plant-based diet and robust gut microbiome.   

This means it’s time to pay close attention to what’s on your plate.

Plant-based foods all contain slightly different types of fiber, such as soluble, insoluble, and resistant starch, which all serve many purposes. Not only do these fibers support our digestive function, but they also help sustain the balance of organisms that reside within our guts. 

Just keep in mind, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that including some meat in an otherwise healthy diet is bad for your microbiome.

The low FODMAP diet and gut microbiome 

The low FODMAP diet is restrictive as it works by limiting your intake of what’s known as short-chain carbohydrates found in foods such as onions, asparagus, and apples. And if you have IBS or similar gut disorders, removing these foods from your diet can help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloating, pain, and altered bowel habits. Unfortunately, these short-chain carbs being eliminated from your diet are also known to benefit gut microbiome. 

What’s important to keep in mind is the low FODMAP diet is not a DIY fix. Instead, it has been carefully designed as a short-term process, and it's important to follow this diet with guidance from a qualified healthcare practitioner. With expert guidance, the low FODMAP diet emphasizes moving you through the diet’s three key phases (elimination, reintroduction, and personalization), while ensuring the integrity of your gut microbiome is maintained. 

Numerous studies have observed the impact of the low FODMAP diet and IBS in general on gut microbiome. It’s been confirmed that following the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet for an extended period can reduce the number of the different types of bacteria and alter your microbiome.

However, this is why it’s important you follow the low FODMAP diet with a health professional like a dietitian leading you along, who may be able to recommend a more tailored version of the diet to fit your personal needs. 

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How to help your microbiome

You can try a range of strategies to improve your gut health before implementing a low FODMAP diet, such as gut-directed hypnotherapy (GDH). GDH helps improve communication between the gut and brain via the vagus nerve, and it has not been shown to impact your gut microbiome negatively. 

If you are opting to follow the low FODMAP diet (which you can undertake at the same time as GDH), here’s what you can do to keep your microbiome healthy and robust.

  1. Focus on diversity and what you can eat

 We know the low FODMAP diet is restrictive, and it can be challenging to commit to. However, several low FODMAP foods can be consumed in moderate amounts that are rich in prebiotic fiber. This is the type of fiber that ‘feeds’ our gut microbiome.  

Try including these foods in your diet plan following the suggested serving sizes to ensure they are considered a low FODMAP choice: 

  • 10 almonds
  • ½ cup edamame
  • ½ corn cob 
  • ½ cup rolled oats 
  • ¼ canned lentils or chickpeas  
  1. Avoid known stressors 

Particular dietary and lifestyle factors are known to impact your gut microbiome adversely. These include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and a diet high in saturated and/or trans fats, artificial sweeteners, or other additives. By cutting back on alcohol, quitting smoking, and reworking your diet, you will be actively helping your gut microbiome to flourish.

  1. Introduce probiotics to your diet 

Probiotics are live bacteria that alter your gut’s flora. They offer many benefits that can bring relief by helping regulate the function and speed at which contents move through your bowel. Probiotics naturally occur in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh. You can also consume probiotics as a supplement. You'll be supporting your already-established gut microbiome by upping your intake of foods high in probiotics. 

  1. Get moving 

Exercise, the kind you can commit to doing regularly, is a well-known way to improve your overall health and well-being. However, the good news is it not only helps you get in shape, but it also promotes good digestive health and ensures your microbiome is thriving. The even better news is gentle exercise has been found to help relieve IBS symptoms, particularly bloating and constipation—no extreme fitness plan required.  

  1. Find professional help

Seek professional guidance from a healthcare practitioner like an accredited practicing or registered dietitian to ensure you maintain a healthy microbiome while undertaking a low FODMAP diet. They will be able to guide you through the diet step by step, tailoring it to your individual needs. It's important the approach is personalized to your unique symptoms, triggers, and lifestyle to ensure the integrity of your gut microbiome. 

About Chelsea McCallum

Chelsea McCallum is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, nutritionist, and recipe developer. She has years of clinical experience as a dietitian and is highly skilled in working with adolescents and adults. Since finishing a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, she further developed her knowledge in IBS, gut microbiome, and gut health, attending several workshops and courses within Australia and internationally in the UK. She is an an expert in IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

Learn more about Chelsea at www.dietitianchelsea.com or connect with her on Instagram.

The Wrap Up

Nurturing the trillions of micro-organisms that make up your gut microbiome is critical to a healthy gut and overall well-being. A thriving microbiome supports your digestive system and is closely linked to your mental health. Diversity in your diet, particularly with plant-based foods, is one of the best ways to support your gut microbiome. Following a restrictive low FODMAP diet can be problematic for your microbiome, but with support and guidance from a qualified healthcare practitioner, consuming probiotics, exercising, and avoiding known stressors, you can still work towards a healthy gut.

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Contents

Calm IBS in 6 weeks

Take our free assessment to discover if Nerva can work for you.

✅ 89% success rate
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Hot Flash Relief

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Hypnotherapy

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Refer, monitor and grow

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Let's Connect
Could it be IBS?
Take the quiz to find out.
Free guide to managing IBS with hypnotherapy
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
What if you could calm IBS in just 6 weeks?
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters from Monash Univeristy
Could it be IBS?
Take the quiz to find out.
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Manage IBS with gut-directed hypnotherapy
Start free trial
Sleep better, without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Manage hot flashes in just five weeks
Start Now
Manage hot flashes without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Refer, monitor and grow
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Interested in hypnotherapy?
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