Food components in our diet provide not only necessary nutrients to our body but also substrates for the mutualistic microbial flora in our gastrointestinal tract, termed the gut microbiome. Undigested food components are metabolized to a diverse array of metabolites. Thus, what we eat shapes the structure, composition, and function of the gut microbiome, which interacts with the gut epithelium and mucosal immune system and maintains intestinal homeostasis in a healthy state. Alterations of the gut microbiome are implicated in many diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There is growing interest in nutritional therapy to target the gut microbiome in IBD. Investigations into dietary effects on the composition changes in the gut microbiome flourished in recent years, but few focused on gut physiology. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding the impacts of major food components and their metabolites on the gut and health consequences, specifically within the GI tract. Additionally, the influence of the diet on the gut microbiome-host immune system interaction in IBD is also discussed. Understanding the influence of the diet on the interaction of the gut microbiome and the host immune system will be useful in developing nutritional strategies to maintain gut health and restore a healthy microbiome in IBD.
Keywords: IBD; colitis; dietary fats; dietary fiber; dietary protein; foods; gut microbiome; gut microbiota; intestinal health; nutrition.