The gut is rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about and focused on areas of health improvement, as more acknowledge the substantial influence it bears on the body. From your immune system right through to the brain, having a healthy gut can help fight disease, clear away toxins – and even boost your mood.

Dr Jess Braid, qualified medical doctor and functional medicine practitioner at Adio said: “Our bodies have ten times more microorganisms than there are stars in the universe.

“Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites – together called the microbiome – all work together to keep us well. Each of us has over 100 trillion in our bodies. If these become unbalanced, that shows up in our health. “

Most of these organisms reside in the gut, and since a wave of research over the years has linked these organisms to immune system, inflammation, most diseases – and even our emotions, addictions and mental health, we’re now more aware of the major role gut health plays on the overall health of our bodies.

Dr Braid said: “The irony is that the father of medicine, Hippocrates, knew this way back in 400BC. ‘All disease begins in the gut…’ he is quoted as saying.

“Somehow, through the ages, that wisdom held until recently becoming lost to modern medicine.”

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The human body processes between 1.5-2kg of food each day. All that food travels through the gut, making what we eat the biggest factor affecting its health.

New research from Holland & Barrett revealed nearly three-quarters of the UK population (72 percent) surveyed experience gut health problems, ranging from feeling bloated, suffering heartburn and constipation, but nearly half (44 percent) do nothing about it.

Of those surveyed, four in five (78 percent) respondents said they have no knowledge of what the gut does, how it works, and the signs of a gut behaving badly, and even if they did, 60 percent said they would be too embarrassed to talk to family and friends.

Holland and Barrett surveyed 1,000 adults across the UK for its Gut Health Survey.

So, Express.co.uk is here to make things easier with a simple five-step guide to boost your gut health. Sas Parsad, founder of The Gut Go, has given his top tips.

Eat a nutritious and diverse diet

Mr Parsad said: “Loading up on fibrous, colorful foods will ensure your gut bacteria is provided with the food it needs to thrive and nourish.”

An assortment of beans, bananas, leeks, raspberries, quinoa, and lentils are among the highly recommended food items to include more of in your diet.

Mr Parsad explained: “Fiber will assist overall digestion, helping to prevent constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. More food diversity equals a more diverse microbiome. “

Consume fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria

Mr Parsad recommends an increase in consumption of fermented foods, as these help to restore the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.

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He advises: “Fermented foods to include in your diet could be sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, and yoghurt.”

Include more polyphenol-rich foods in your diet

Mr Parsad said: “Polyphenols are plant compounds that have many health benefits, from reducing inflammation to increasing good bacteria in the microbiome.

He adds: “Polyphenols can be found in dark chocolate, red wine, green tea, blueberries, and almonds.”

Increase your physical activity

Mr Parsad said: “Not only is exercise and general physical activity beneficial for overall health and wellbeing, but it has also been shown to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.”

One study found exercise to promote the growth of a bacteria called butyrate.

Butyrate can help repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation, potentially preventing diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

Take a probiotic

Finally, Mr Parsad recommends finding a suitable probiotic.

He said: “Probiotics have been shown to improve the gut microbiome in several ways, including populating the gut with beneficial bacteria, helping to increase beneficial strains of bacteria, strengthening the gut lining, protecting against unwanted pathogens, and helping boost immune system function. “

He advises: “The best probiotic supplement to take would contain a blend of clinically-proven prebiotics, live cultures, and strains of beneficial bacteria that help improve gut diversity and overall microbiome health.”

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