So, what exactly is a ‘healthy’ gut microbiome? It’s a question more and more researchers around the world are investigating as they strive to understand how an unhealthy gut microbiome may cause – or be linked to – disease and poor health (physically, mentally and emotionally). Identifying the characteristics of a healthy microbiome is a challenging task, though – especially as each of us seems to have a unique microbiota that is constantly evolving. Still, researchers have proposed that a healthy microbiome has the following three characteristics:
1. Highly diverse with many different types of bacteria – the more, the better.
2. Free of pathogenic microorganisms – the type that can cause an infection.
3. Resistant and resilient – meaning that, after a gut infection, our gut microbiota can recover and return to a healthy state (Lloyd-Price et al., 2016).