Expert Backed Advice on Balancing Your Microbiome

In partnership with KTea

A healthy gut is about so much more than good digestion. Exciting scientific discoveries have linked our gut microbiome to our immune system, our metabolism and our mental wellbeing, but our modern lifestyles make it difficult to sustain the ‘good’ bacteria we so desperately need.

We found out why, and what can be done to rebalance our gut health, with the local experts at KTea. Read on to find out what they had to say.



The Conversation.

If you have ever spent time with a new parent then you may have noticed that the conversation often turns to poo. It’s something that is openly discussed, but as our little ones learn to master the potty we too relearn the rules of polite society and censor our toilet talk. 

Poo has been considered an impolite topic of conversation for so long, and until recent times even the word 'gut' would prompt looks of disapproval. It's as if our distaste for such topics blinded us to the critical nature of this magnificent organ. Even the scientific community overlooked the importance of the gut until recently. Happily for us fermenters, the recent 'gut health' revolution has loosened the rules around such conversations and once again we can all refer to our bowels for signs of wellness.


The Gut Microbiome.

A vast collection of microorganisms inhabiting our digestive tract is what we commonly refer to as our Gut Microbiome. Now that we know we are made up of more microbial critters than of human cells, we can start to wonder at the universe inside ourselves. With the help of modern microscopes we can marvel at our microbes with the same sense of wonder that we gaze upon a star-filled sky. 


The Science.

Laboratories worldwide are studying stool samples and the revolution has only just begun. Already we are learning of ways in which a healthy gut could be linked to not only good digestion but a strong immune system, weight loss and even mental health. These exciting discoveries beg more questions like what can we eat to encourage the settlement of beneficial strains of bacteria, yeasts and viruses in our gut? How many useful little critters have we inadvertently endangered with our modern lifestyles? Can we re-seed our inner meadows with magical healing microbes?




The Hidden Dangers.

Sadly most modern foods offer little to no benefits to our precious gut microbiome. They are stripped of their vitality to make them cheaper, transportable and shelf stable. Many of our 'foods' have been processed so far beyond their natural state that they can no longer be defined as such. Ultra processed foods (UPFs) are nothing more than sneaky and often harmful look-a-likes. 

The overuse of antibiotics, alcohol and pesticides are a few of the obvious modern practices that could deplete our microbial communities but there are, all too common, hidden ones too. It's wise to always read labels but try not to fall for the health claims often boasted on the front and instead check the ingredients list. Look for words you recognise as food and try to avoid naughty little microbes disrupting additives like emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavourings.


The Three P’s.

Fortunately, several strains of bacteria and yeast have been isolated as being particularly helpful and have been given the honourable title of Probiotics. But it turns out they can only really manufacture positive effects if they are fuelled by certain non-digestible starches. These types of fibre are called Prebiotics and Polyphenols and can be found in foods such as linseeds, psyllium husk and anything colourful like blueberries and green tea. 

Whilst there are a host of decent but expensive supplements available these days, why not introduce a variety of fermented foods instead? Many fermented foods contain all three P's plus taste incredible and come fully packaged with naturally occurring and absorbable nutrients. Be sure to do a little research on the ferments you choose however, as with their resurgence in popularity many brands have fallen prey to stealth stabilising methods, like pasteurisation, which once again render them lifeless. Look for products that must be stored refrigerated, with words like live, raw or unpasteurised.


The Fermentation Revolution.

Recent studies on the consumption of traditionally fermented foods like kimchi, kefir and kombucha have shown a myriad of health benefits. Could these be attributed to the hosts of microbes they contain? Before we started refrigerating, pasteurising or adding chemicals, so much of our food would have been preserved this way. 

Rather than inhibiting the growth of certain kinds of bacteria and yeasts we would encourage their growth and they in turn would produce enzymes that not only preserve our foods but make them tastier and maybe even make us healthier to boot!

One thing's for sure, it's time we humans started to consider our gut as vital an organ as our brain or heart. Let's take responsibility for our health by minimising UFPs, sugar, and alcohol and treat ourselves with gut-friendly fresh, natural and varied foods plus plenty of tangy ferments. 

We have a gut feeling you will enjoy the journey!



About KTea...

The chance offer of a kombucha drink in Cape Town resulted in 'love at first taste' for KTea founder Kate Attieh, so when she was unable to find a great tasting kombucha on her return to Guernsey she decided to make her own. Following extensive research, which included sampling kombucha from around 30 breweries in Portland, Oregan, she was encouraged by the founder of the kombucha movement in the US to set up her own brewery - so she did. From a small start up in her repurposed wine cellar to a bigger and better new brewery home, KTea is going from strength to strength, in the Bailiwick and beyond.

You can read KTea founder Kate's story here

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