Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Eating vine ripened tomatoes and other fresh fruits and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy gut biome.


Our society is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the gut in overall health, and doctors are also more and more aware of the complexity of what goes on in the gut. This is reflected in part by emphasis on the microbes living in our bodies, and in the gut in particular. Researchers have discovered so much complexity in this area that they have now begun talking about the gut biome.

Biome was once a word reserved for geographical places such as rainforests and old growth forests, places with incredible diversity of living things. The diversity of microbes living within us, and the sheer number of them, has become so striking to scholars that they coined the term “gut biome” to reflect this complex reality. And for us to be as close to optimal health as possible, we need to be aware of the gut biome as well.

First of all, rather than being grossed out by the fact that there are a whole bunch of microbes living inside of us, we need to be aware of it and embrace it. Microbe diversity can significantly improve health. We should not only choose a diet and a lifestyle that encourages gut biome diversity, but we should also avoid things that reduce that diversity.

Processed foods and artificial sweeteners can reduce gut biodiversity and should be avoided. On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables are good for maintaining and even increasing the complexity of the gut biome. Also, try to test for food sensitivities. We are each a unique person and different foods can affect us in different ways. My wife had a health sensitivity to bananas that we were completely oblivious to. She got tested, and we eliminated her exposure right away.

Achieving balance in all things is a worthwhile goal for any family or individual. When it’s a question of health, this should be done with alacrity. It’s never too soon to start making positive changes in diet to improve health. We often act as though making dietary changes and other health-related decisions is so serious that it should take a very long time. While it is true that fine tuning one’s diet can take years, eating healthier can begin right now.

Sayed Shah, MD, is a holistic medicine practitioner at Mandala Integrative Medicine.