10 ways to ruin your gut

10 ways to ruin your gut

10 ways to ruin your gut

Having a healthy gut is pivotal to your overall health. The microbiome, which is trillions of microbes naturally found in the gut, has both positive and negative effects on your health.[1] The good news is that if your microbiome is healthy, your mind and body will be healthy. However, if you have an unhealthy microbiome, you will have an unhealthy body and mind. Here is a list of 10 ways to ruin your guts and microbiome.

1. Don’t eat polyphenols.

Polyphenols are a healthy group of chemicals that beneficially change your microbiome.[2] They are found in fruits, vegetables and herbs and spices. Make sure you avoid these foods if you want to upset your microbiome.

2. Skip out on eating fibre.

Fibre, especially soluble fibre is highly beneficial for your gut health.[3] So make sure you don’t eat a highly colourful diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Stick to a diet full of sugars and refined carbohydrates.

3. Consume gluten.

 In sensitive individuals, gluten increases the unhealthy microbes in the gut, while reducing the ‘good’ gut bugs.[4] Gluten is not the best protein for your health. Consuming gluten can trigger widespread inflammation in the body.[5]

4. Stress out to the max.

Stress is bad for all sorts of reasons. It shrinks your muscles, can cause anxiety and ruins your microbiome. While you may not see immediately obvious issues, stress has been found to disrupt your microbiome negatively.[6]

5. Never eat apples.

Apples taste great and are very convenient. We already know that if you eat an apple every day, you will keep the doctor away, but if you eat two apples, your bowels will love you for it. In a recent study, it was found that consuming 2 apples a day beneficially affects the microbiome.[7]

6. Keep cinnamon away from your diet

This stuff tastes great in smoothies (and of course on doughnuts) so it is one of those spices that could be used for good or evil. Interestingly, cinnamon is extremely good for our health in general and of course excellent for your gut. In a recent study, cinnamon was found to benefit your bones by improving your gut function.[8] Cinnamon is also excellent for blood sugar control.[9] Now that we have established cinnamon to be beneficial for your gut and your body, you must avoid this spice if you want to ruin your guts.

7. Eat sugar often

Refined sugar (not the sugars naturally found in fruits) is bad for you. It rots your teeth, makes you fat (if you overeat it) and is completely void of nutrients. So, it must not be the biggest shock in the world that consuming sugars disrupt your gut and as a result, your microbiome throws out inflammatory chemicals.[10] This inflammation drives all sorts of vascular diseases and can make joint diseases appear out of nowhere.

8. Don’t exercise

The benefits of exercise for fitness and weight loss are well known. It is also great for your fitness and your heart would love it if you exercise. Did you know the bugs in your gut love going for a run with you? The microbiome benefits greatly from your morning walk.[11] It is not only your puppy that enjoys a trip to the park for some exercise.

9. Don’t eat dark chocolate

I am not talking about your 'plane-Jane' sugar-laden crappy chocolate here. Certainly, if you want to ruin your gut keep eating this stuff until the cows come home (pun intended). But if you want to ruin your gut, you need to keep away from 85% low sugar, dark chocolate. In 2022, a study found that eating this very dark chocolate improves your mood. It was found that consuming 85% dark chocolate benefits your emotional state via the gut-brain axis.[12]

10. Avoid the sun.

This is the final step you need to take if you want to ruin your gut, and it is a strange one. You must keep out of the sun because when you go in the sun, your microbiome loves it and the composition of the microbes in your gut improves dramatically.[13] Sure, your Vitamin D levels will plummet if you keep out of the sun, but at the same time, you will be avoiding the sunlight that your microbiome loves.



[1] Lo BC, Chen GY, Núñez G, Caruso R. Gut microbiota and systemic immunity in health and disease. Int Immunol. 2021 Mar 31;33(4):197-209. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxaa079.

[2] Kumar Singh A, Cabral C, Kumar R, Ganguly R, Kumar Rana H, Gupta A, Rosaria Lauro M, Carbone C, Reis F, Pandey AK. Beneficial Effects of Dietary Polyphenols on Gut Microbiota and Strategies to Improve Delivery Efficiency. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 13;11(9):2216. doi: 10.3390/nu11092216.

[3] Cronin P, Joyce SA, O'Toole PW, O'Connor EM. Dietary Fibre Modulates the Gut Microbiota. Nutrients. 2021 May 13;13(5):1655. doi: 10.3390/nu13051655.

[4] Caio G, Lungaro L, Segata N, Guarino M, Zoli G, Volta U, De Giorgio R. Effect of Gluten-Free Diet on Gut Microbiota Composition in Patients with Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten/Wheat Sensitivity. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 19;12(6):1832. doi: 10.3390/nu12061832.

[5] Lebwohl B, Cao Y, Zong G, Hu FB, Green PHR, Neugut AI, Rimm EB, Sampson L, Dougherty LW, Giovannucci E, Willett WC, Sun Q, Chan AT. Long term gluten consumption in adults without celiac disease and risk of coronary heart disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2017 May 2;357:j1892. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j1892.

[6] Galley J.D., Nelson M.C., Yu Z., Dowd S.E., Walter J., Kumar P.S., Lyte M., Bailey M.T. Exposure to a social stressor disrupts the community structure of the colonic mucosa-associated microbiota. BMC Microbiol. 2014;14:189.

[7] Ulaszewska MM, Koutsos A, Trošt K, Stanstrup J, Garcia-Aloy M, Scholz M, Fava F, Natella F, Scaccini C, Vrhovsek U, Tuohy K, Lovegrove J, Mattivi F. Two apples a day modulate human:microbiome co-metabolic processing of polyphenols, tyrosine and tryptophan. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Dec;59(8):3691-3714. doi: 10.1007/s00394-020-02201-8. Epub 2020 Feb 26.

[8] Hong S, Cha KH, Park JH, Jung DS, Choi JH, Yoo G, Nho CW. Cinnamic acid suppresses bone loss via induction of osteoblast differentiation with alteration of gut microbiota. J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Mar;101:108900. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108900. Epub 2021 Nov 5.

[9] Kizilaslan N, Erdem NZ. The Effect of Different Amounts of Cinnamon Consumption on Blood Glucose in Healthy Adult Individuals. Int J Food Sci. 2019 Mar 4;2019:4138534. doi: 10.1155/2019/4138534.

[10] Satokari R. High Intake of Sugar and the Balance between Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Gut Bacteria. Nutrients. 2020 May 8;12(5):1348. doi: 10.3390/nu12051348.

[11] Clauss M, Gérard P, Mosca A, Leclerc M. Interplay Between Exercise and Gut Microbiome in the Context of Human Health and Performance. Front Nutr. 2021 Jun 10;8:637010. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.637010.

[12] Shin JH, Kim CS, Cha L, Kim S, Lee S, Chae S, Chun WY, Shin DM. Consumption of 85% cocoa dark chocolate improves mood in association with gut microbial changes in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Jan;99:108854. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108854. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

[13] Chen PJ, Nakano T, Lai CY, Chang KC, Chen CL, Goto S. Daily full spectrum light exposure prevents food allergy-like allergic diarrhea by modulating vitamin D3 and microbiota composition. NPJ Biofilms Microbiomes. 2021 May 6;7(1):41. doi: 10.1038/s41522-021-00213-8.