Eating A Plant-Based Diet May Have Benefits Because It Feeds Your Gut Microbes

Since we were young children, we have been told that we should eat our fruits and vegetables. It seems as if this is not just a convenient catchphrase, there are many benefits associated with it as well.

Those benefits include having a higher level of certain gut microbes that help us in multiple ways, such as lowering our risks of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes.

This has been documented in a report appearing in Nature Medicine, outlining a study that was co-authored by a doctor from Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital, Andrew T Chan, according to Harvard.

Photo: flickr/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – PNNL

Chan is a gastroenterologist and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He had the following to say: “This study demonstrates a clear association between specific microbial species in the gut, certain foods, and risk of some common diseases.”

He went on to say that he is hopeful the information would help people to change their diet, personalize their gut microbiome, and ultimately, avoid serious health problems.

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The study, which is known as the PREDICT 1 (Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial 1) metagenomic study, provided detailed information on the participants, including their dietary habits, their personal microbiomes, and certain cardiometabolic blood biomarkers.

Photo: flickr/Ella Olsson

According to the research, it seems as if certain foods and diets can have a strong influence on the body’s microbiome. Having a strong microbiome can reduce the possibility of disease, at times, yielding a greater influence than our genetics.

Chan spoke about the relationship between our diet, disease, and the microbiome. He feels that there is a lot of strength in the evidence shown by the study because they collected a lot of detailed information and there were many people involved.

The researchers who took part in PREDICT 1 collected a lot of dietary information and data from the microbiome of each individual in the study. Those who took part in it included more than 1100 individuals from both the UK and the US.

Photo: pxfuel

According to Harvard, the study found that the participants who ate a diet high in plant-based foods were likely to have a higher level of healthy microbes in their gut. They also discovered that the biomarkers associated with their microbiome showed that they were less likely to suffer from issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to the researcher that started the study, Tim Spector, you are doing more than nourishing your body when you eat, you are feeding the microbes, which number in the trillions that live in your gut.

It looks like our parents were right all along!

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