The gut has more than 100bn bacteria to every gram of intestinal content.
Plant-based foods, fibre, fruits, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains and olive oil encourage a healthy gut.
A cut above
If the vagus nerve connecting the brain and gut were severed, the digestive system would function independently.
What goes in...
Populations that frequently eat fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and miso tend to have better gut health and less bowel disease.
The most effective way to maintain gut health is to drink more water. The gut is essentially a long, slippery tube.
The gut produces considerably more neurotransmitters – which influence our mood and behaviour – than the brain does.
Stress produces an influx of adrenaline, which shuts down digestion and can cause bloating, so take deep breaths and relax while eating.
A 9m-long organ with 800 to 900 folds, the gut would cover an entire tennis court if laid out flat.
Exercise stimulates the digestive tract and encourages healthy digestive-transit enzymes.