Plant-based Diet: A Key to Gut Health and Overall Well-Being

Plant-based Diet: A Key to Gut Health and Overall Well-Being

Over the past years, research on gut health has grown immensely. Gut health is a trending topic in the health and wellness scene, and rightfully so - the state of your gut plays a huge role in your overall health. Your gut not only influences your digestive health but also mental health, your skin, thyroid function, liver health, and lung health (Mikhail, 2023; Konturek et al., 2018). Therefore, it is safe to say that taking care of your gut is one of the most significant things you can do for your well-being.


Gut health encompasses not only the stomach but your entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract, extending from your mouth to the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, rectum, and anus (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, n.d.). Shockingly, approximately 40% of the worldwide population suffers from chronic gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation (Sperber et al., 2021). Symptoms of poor gut health can manifest in different forms, including constipation, IBS, nausea, gas, acid reflux, bloating, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids.

Gut health issues can be caused by a complex and diverse set of factors, including: 

  • Low-fiber diets
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • High consumption of dairy and meat products
  • Stress
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Antibiotic usage
  • Alcohol and tobacco consumption
  • Consumption of refined sugars, saturated fats, and artificial sweeteners
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Food intolerances and allergies

(Mikhail, 2023; Cleveland Clinic, n.d.)

However, by influencing metabolism and inflammation, diet and nutrition can outweigh genetic and environmental factors in determining health outcomes for chronic Western conditions (Hills et al., 2019).


The power of plant-based food

What you eat has a significant impact on your gut health. Insufficient fiber intake, along with excessive intake of processed foods, alcohol, dairy products, and meat, can have detrimental effects on gut health. While several factors influence gut health, adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet can significantly improve the state of your gut. A whole foods, plant-based diet primarily consists of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. These foods are rich in fiber, and some also contain prebiotics and probiotics, which are essential for a healthy gut. Literature suggests that consuming a plant-based diet can increase beneficial bacteria in our gut and promote the development of more diverse and stable microbial systems (Losno et al., 2021; Tomova et al., 2019).

So, what makes plant-based foods so beneficial for gut health?


All plants contain phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are plant-based bioactive compounds produced by plants for their protection. They have antioxidant properties that can decrease the risk of diseases. Phytochemicals influence the ratio of gut microbiota, promoting the growth and reproduction of beneficial microbiota and reducing the growth of pathogenic microbiota (Santhiravel et al., 2022). Plant-based diets are high in phytochemicals, which can help reduce bloating and reduce inflammation in the body (Bousdouni et al., 2022).

Prebiotic foods

Prebiotic foods are soluble fibers that nourish probiotic compounds. They contain compounds such as fructooligosaccharides, inulin, and galactooligosaccharides, which act as fuel for gut bacteria. Prebiotics can be found in plant-based foods. Read which ones here.


Probiotic foods

Probiotic foods are beneficial microorganisms, including a variety of yeast and bacteria, that multiply in food through fermentation. Ancient civilizations have been fermenting food as a way to preserve food. Probiotics are essential, as they help your body build and repair good bacteria in the lining of the gut. Most fermented foods are also naturally plant-based, such as tempeh, natto, kombucha. You can find a full list of probiotic plant-based foods here.



Fibers, non-digestible carbohydrates exclusively found in plants, increase the presence of lactic acid bacteria, such as Ruminococcus, E. rectale, and Roseburia. High fiber intake also accelerates the growth of species that ferment fiber into metabolites known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which regulate critical functions of the intestine. Plant-based foods are also rich in polyphenols, which increase Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, providing anti-pathogenic and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as cardiovascular protection (Tomova et al., 2019).



In conclusion, prioritizing gut health is essential for overall well-being, considering its impact on various aspects of health, including digestion, mental clarity, skin condition, and immune function. With a significant portion of the global population struggling with gastrointestinal issues, it is crucial to address the root causes, many of which are tied to lifestyle choices and dietary habits. Transitioning towards a plant-based eating pattern offers a holistic approach to improving gut health, addressing not only immediate gastrointestinal concerns but also nurturing overall well-being.


  • Losno, E. A., Sieferle, K., Perez-Cueto, F. J. A., & Ritz, C. (2021). Vegan Diet and the Gut Microbiota Composition in Healthy Adults. Nutrients, 13(7), 2402.

  • Mikhail, S. (2023). The Gut Chronicles. 1st edition. Hammersmith Health Books. 

  • Tomova, A., Bukovsky, I., Rembert, E., Yonas, W., Alwarith, J., Barnard, N. D., & Kahleova, H. (2019). The Effects of Vegetarian and Vegan Diets on Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in Nutrition, 6, 47.

  • Santhiravel, S., Bekhit, A. E. A., Mendis, E., Jacobs, J. L., Dunshea, F. R., Rajapakse, N., & Ponnampalam, E. N. (2022). The Impact of Plant Phytochemicals on the Gut Microbiota of Humans for a Balanced Life. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(15), 8124.Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Gastrointestinal Diseases. Retrieved from

  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). (n.d.). Digestive System: How It Works. Retrieved from

  • Konturek, P. C., Harsch, I. A., Konturek, K., Schink, M., Konturek, T., Neurath, M. F., & Zopf, Y. (2018). Gut⁻Liver Axis: How Do Gut Bacteria Influence the Liver? Medicine Sciences, 6(3), 79

  • Bousdouni, P., Kandyliari, A., & Koutelidakis, A. E. (2022). Probiotics and phytochemicals: Role on gut microbiota and efficacy on irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, and functional constipation. Gastrointestinal Disorders, 4(1), 30-48.

Back to blog