World Digestive Health Day and Gut Microbiota

World Digestive Health Day is the initiative of the World Gastroenterology Organization, which established it as a day to reflect on gastrointestinal diseases. Today's article will tell you more about it.
World Digestive Health Day and Gut Microbiota

Last update: 16 August, 2021

World Digestive Health Day takes place every year as per a proposal of the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO). It’s been taking place since 2005 and has the support of many other organizations linked to the subject, and in a total of 110 countries.

The first one happened on May 29, 1958, at the same time as the first world congress of gastroenterology in Washington, D.C. There, they defined the creation of the world entity that groups the specialty. Much later, in 2004, the project for a World Digestive Health Day finally came into being and they launched it a year later.

Every year there’s a theme, a gastroenterological health topic and they develop it over a period of twelve months. They then choose a different one for the following year. It’s a way to make people aware of conditions such as stomach or colon cancer through strong prevention campaigns.

Nowadays, the intestinal microbiome is becoming more and more relevant. Its care and the influence it can have on the development of disorders is the subject of research around the world. For this reason, its approach is now a major topic in digestive health.

World digestive health day and gut microbiome

Microbiome and microbiota aren’t the same things. The latter is the set of microorganisms that permanently inhabit an area of the body. In turn, the microbiome is all of these microorganisms plus the genetic material they possess.

Bacteria usually inhabit the intestine and undergo minimal modifications under normal conditions. In fact, they constitute the microbiota of the digestive tract due to their stability. Furthermore, disorders that become systemic appear when there’s an alteration.

There’s a link between the intestinal microbiome and autoimmune diseases, psychiatric disorders, and degenerative pathologies. Allergies are also an important part of the human balance because these microorganisms modify them.

World Digestive Health Day is a good one to make people aware that the microbiome is almost like a personal fingerprint. The bacterial composition of the gut is unique in each individual and represents a hallmark of their balance with the internal and external environment.

Changes in lifestyle habits affect it, as does diet. In addition, there’s an evolutionary process of these bacteria that follows the growth and development of the body.

An illustration of an intestine.
The digestive tract contains bacteria that regularly inhabit it and is part of the daily functioning of the digestive tract.

Three foods for a healthy microbiome

The focus of World Digestive Health Day is on the well-being of the digestive tract. In addition, a key part of it is the intestinal microbiota that regularly inhabits this area.

Whatever we eat affects the microbiome. In fact, some foods stimulate the controlled growth of good bacteria, while others destroy bacterial colonies, allowing the entry of harmful germs.

Three foods can protect and even stimulate the normal gut microbiota and their incorporation into your diet will keep external agents at bay.

Fruits and vegetables

These contain a large amount of dietary fiber, a component of food we don’t digest. It merely regulates peristalsis — the movement of the digestive tract.

In addition, these products contain prebiotics. The gut bacteria absorb these micro foods and they help strengthen and develop according to the needs of the organism.

Interestingly, scientific findings with artichokes revealed that these can increase the number of Bifidus bacteria in the intestine. Furthermore, this group of microorganisms is protective of intestinal health. Prebiotics are also present in lentils, chickpeas, and whole grains.

Fermented products

A type of fermented food is one that has already undergone partial bacterial digestion. In fermentation, microorganisms take the sugar present in the product and convert it into something else, such as alcohol molecules.

Yogurt is a classic example of a fermented product. The intestine receives a dose of bacteria present in the substance when you eat it. Then, several of them settle in the gut to continue living there.

However, there’s more than yogurt in the fermented options for feeding your microbiome. Sauerkraut and kefir are common foods in certain geographical areas, meet this criterion.

A picture of the gut microbiota.
Bacteria that form the microbiome colonize the interior of the small intestine.

Find out more about The Role of Microbiota in Newborn Babies

Polyphenols

These are compounds that have increased the volume of scientific studies regarding their properties. They’re present in chocolate, wine, beer, almonds, and blueberries.

An adequate dose of polyphenols increases the proportion of Bifidus bacteria in the intestine and has cardiovascular protective effects. However, this isn’t generic, and every polyphenol acts differently in the human body.

World Digestive Health Day focuses on the microscopic

The gut microbiome is microscopic, invisible to the human eye, at least. Nevertheless, these bacteria are now considered part of human beings. Thanks to them we can maintain the digestive stability that allows us to survive.

As you can imagine, we must take care of them by following a balanced wholesome diet that nourishes and stimulates them. Indeed, there’s still a lot of research to be done on this microscopic world but we already know the importance of their influence on human health.

It might interest you...
Tips to Improve Food Digestion
Step To HealthRead it in Step To Health
Tips to Improve Food Digestion

Improving food digestion can relieve symptoms such as fullness, diarrhea, gas, or heartburn, especially after after a heavy meal.



  • Castañeda Guillot, Carlos. “Update in prebiotics.” Revista Cubana de Pediatría 90.4 (2018).
  • García, Breixo Ventoso. Microbiota y metabolismo: la importancia de la microbiota en el correcto funcionamiento fisiológico. Vol. 4. 3Ciencias, 2017.
  • Moreno-Indias, Isabel. “Beneficios de los polifenoles contenidos en la cerveza sobre la microbiota intestinal.” Nutrición Hospitalaria 34 (2017): 41-44.
  • Moreira, Ana Paula Boroni, et al. “Influence of a high-fat diet on gut microbiota, intestinal permeability and metabolic endotoxaemia.” British Journal of Nutrition 108.5 (2012): 801-809.
  • Passos, Maria do Carmo Friche, and Joaquim Prado Moraes-Filho. “Intestinal microbiota in digestive diseases.” Arquivos de gastroenterologia 54.3 (2017): 255-262.