Naturopathic medicine has long insisted that gut health is a fundamental player in the overall health of a person. Science is now starting to prove this as potentially correct. I personally don't need convincing: The healthiest people I treat have gold standard bowels: great, regular, effortless poos - more than once a day - no bloating and no acid reflux Nobody wants to say it, but there's nothing like a good poo! An incredibly exciting project by the National Institutes of Health called the Human Microbiome Project is underway (their website:http://www.hmpdacc.org/). It is busy with characterising the microbial communities found at multiple human body sites and then looking for correlations between changes in that microbiome and human health. Our good/advantageous/friendly bacteria help to promote normal gastrointestinal function, protect us from infection and play a dominant role in the functioning of our immune system. Associations have been found between poor microbial balance (bad bacterial populations overgrowing) and urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases (crohns, colitis), autism, type 1 diabetes and obesity. Don't wait for the research - it is very clear already that working towards a good microbial balance in your gut will help you feel as shiny and perky as possible. Simple steps: 1. Eat a very low glycaemic diet - watch those added sugars, eat grains that are visibly whole (not ground into flour). 2. Eat foods rich in prebiotics (fibres that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria) such as raw greens, raw garlic and raw onions. 3. It can be a good move to take a course of high quality probiotics in capsule or liquid form. I personally do this frequently since I am prone to gut imbalance very easily. I like this brand: http://www.bio-kult.com/ 4. Avoid antibiotics and anti microbial soaps/hand gels as much as possible; being too clean can be a big problem. Obviously wash your hands before eating and after the toilet but do understand that microbes are a part of us. A bit like a bird riding on the back of a hippo. Our bacteria hang around all over us. Be nice to your germs, and they will be nice to you.