Gut health programmes which improve our microbiome are not new in the spa industry as wellness experts and scientists recognise the links between good bacteria in our intestines. The wide-reaching benefits include improving our heart and metabolic health, helping people who suffer from diabetes and obesity for example, to regulating our hormones.
But Spa Business predicts the ‘food as medicine’ approach, championed by operators such as The Original FX Mayr, Buchinger Wilhelmi, Chenot and Sha Wellness, will boom in popularity as consumers recognise how essential the microbe community in our bowel is for developing our immunity, defending us against pathogens and for our brain function/mental health.
Findings from new studies like Predict, one of the first to take a deep look at dietary intake and its effect on the gut microbiome and health outcomes, could further strengthen spa offerings.
The study, published in Nature Medicine in January, monitored the gut microbiome composition, diet and cardiometabolic blood markers of 1,100 participants from the US and UK, and is one of the world’s largest research projects investigating individual responses to food.
The key revelation was the identification of 15 ‘good’ and 15 ‘bad’ naturally-occurring gut microbes that can correlate with key markers of health status in a positive or negative fashion, including inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar control and weight.
Results showed diets fuelled by fibre-rich, whole and unprocessed food support the growth of the good microbes, while diets containing a higher concentration of processed foods with added sugar and salt, promote bad gut bacteria associated with illnesses.
This indicates we have control over our gut microbiome and can positively impact our future health outcomes by changing what we eat, explains Dr Sarah Berry, study co-author and epidemiologist at Kings College London.
“Surprisingly, findings also suggested that due to the personalised nature of the microbiome, a personalised approach to what you eat for your unique biology is the best way to positively impact your health,” she adds.
“I’m excited to share this research as our findings show how little of the microbiome is predetermined by genes and therefore how much is modifiable by diet, how we may be able to modify it by diet and how this may impact our subsequent health.”