Pop Quiz: Trust Your Gut

How Much Do You Know About Microbiomes and Your Digestive Health?

Did you know that some kinds of bacteria are actually beneficial to have in your digestive tract? While it may sound counterintuitive, certain strains of bacteria — like lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which make up your gut microbiome — offer a host of benefits for your overall health and well-being. However, most Western diets are not conducive to building a healthy gut microbiome, and many behaviors and habits are downright damaging to gut bacteria. Take our quiz and learn about what to do — and what not to do—to ensure your gut bacteria and overall well-being are as healthy as possible.

1. True or false? There are approximately 40 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are found in your gut.

2.Which of the following are benefits of having a healthy gut microbiome?
A. Healthy bacteria keep out bad bacteria that cause health issues like inflammation, which has a possible connection to many serious conditions, like type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic metabolic conditions, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more.
B. They help you digest food, turning it into nutrients your body can use.
C. A healthy gut microbiome boosts your immune system.
D. Researchers believe it’s possible that there is a link between a poor gut microbiome and your brain that leads to conditions like autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, and depression, as well as chronic pain.
E. All of the above

3. True or false? Studies have found that if you have too much of a certain kind of bad bacteria in your gut microbiome, you’re more likely to have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

4. In addition to a diverse diet rich in whole foods, what are other ways you can boost the health of your gut microbiome?
A. Eat lots of foods that are high in fiber, including whole grain foods.
B. Eat fermented foods.
C. Eat prebiotic foods and probiotic foods, or even a probiotic supplement.
D. Eat foods rich in polyphenols.
E. All of the above

5. Which of the following are NOT high-fiber foods?
A. Raspberries, bananas, and apples
B. Potato chips
C. Artichokes, green peas, and broccoli
D. Chickpeas, lentils, and beans
E. Whole grains

6. Which of the following are fermented foods, or foods where yeast or bacteria have broken down the food’s sugars, that are good for gut microbiome health?
A. Yogurt and kefir
B. Kimchi and sauerkraut
C. Kombucha
D. Tempeh and miso
E. All of the above

7. What should you look for in a yogurt or kefir if you want it to improve your gut microbiome health?
A. Unsweetened yogurt or a yogurt with minimal added sugar
B. One that is made only of milk (if applicable) and bacteria mixtures, also sometimes called “starter cultures”
C. One that has “contains live active cultures” on the label
D. All of the above

8. Which of the following is NOT a prebiotic food?
A. Sour cream
B. Grains, seeds and legumes
C. Raw potatoes and unripe bananas
D. When potatoes and rice are cooked and then cooled
E. None of the above

9. In addition to red wine, cocoa, and dark chocolate, which of the following are foods that are rich in polyphenols?
A. Green tea
B. Grape skins and blueberries
C. Almonds
D. Onions and broccoli
E. All of the above

10. True or false? Many studies have shown that infants who are fed formula have an altered microbiome with fewer Bifidobacteria than infants who are breastfed, so breastfeeding a baby for at least six months helps the baby develop a healthy microbiome.

compiled by ERIKA ALDRICH / Information provided by healthline.com and WebMD
E. All of the above. There are many benefits to having a good but microbiome.
True. Researchers believe there is a link between poor gut microbiome health and Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
E. All of the above
B. Potato chips. Potato chips are not high in fiber.
E. All of the above
D. All of the above
A. Sour cream. Sour cream is not a prebiotic food.
E. All of the above. Polyphenols are also an antioxidant with many other health benefits.

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