We are not alone in our bodies. Living inside every person are trillions of microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi and other life forms that are collectively known as the microbiome. These microbes influence many aspects of your health, including your immune system, and they help digest the food you eat, as well as protect you from pathogens.

Research suggests your gut bacteria are tied to your probability of getting diabetes, obesity and colon cancer. Gut bacteria have also been linked to depression, anxiety and parts of the brain that process emotions. These regions share brain circuitry that affects cardiovascular issues such as blood pressure.

However, some microbes are enemies, rather than friends. Your diet is key to making sure that your gut microbiome is in good shape to support your health. Fibre-rich, minimally processed foods support a healthy microbiome. Ultra-processed foods promote the growth of harmful microbes.

“You can start healing your gut by first removing the bad and adding in the good stuff,” says Dr Mark Hyman, an expert on evidence-based nutrition. “Good bacteria love healthy whole, organic, plant-based foods, ones that are high in fibre and nutrients and contain no artificial ingredients.”