Snack­ing on whole foods im­proves gut bac­te­ria

In­flam­ma­tion known to be a cause of health dis­or­ders

Isis Town and Country - - Life - Honor Tre­main, nu­tri­tion­ist

BY NOW, we have all heard about gut bac­te­ria and their loose clas­si­fi­ca­tion into the “good” and the “bad”.

But what if these lit­tle guys could have a colos­sal im­pact on a mul­ti­tude of ar­eas in health and dis­ease?

We spoke to Pro­fes­sor Matt Cooper, from The In­sti­tute of Molec­u­lar Science at The Univer­sity of Queens­land, who ap­peared on ABC’s Cat­a­lyst pro­gram a few months ago, to dis­cuss some of his find­ings in this new and ex­cit­ing field.

“When we eat a high-fi­bre diet, rich in sol­u­ble fi­bre that the body can use, such as ap­ples, blue­ber­ries, lentils, legumes, raw cel­ery, raw car­rot, for ex­am­ple, this feeds our good gut bac­te­ria,” Pro­fes­sor Cooper says.

The more food pro­vided for good gut bac­te­ria to eat (also known as pre­bi­otics), the more they pro­lif­er­ate and out­weigh the num­ber of bad bac­te­ria present. They then man­u­fac­ture short chain fatty acids, such as ac­etate, which damp­ens down in­flam­ma­tion.

In­flam­ma­tion un­der­lies many com­mon health dis­or­ders.

“In­ter­est­ingly, dur­ing the 1970s when pro­cessed foods, for ex­am­ple breads, bis­cuits, fast food, con­fec­tionery and junk food, were in­tro­duced to the West­ern world, so too was the ac­cel­er­a­tion of many in­flam­ma­tory dis- eases. What changed? Our diet, fi­bre and ac­etate con­tent, and then our gut bac­te­ria,” Pro­fes­sor Cooper says.

He adds that coun­tries con­sum­ing a diet high in fi­bre and ac­etate have far fewer in­flam­ma­tory con­di­tions and dis­ease in general.

So in­stead of snack­ing on bis­cuits, snack on a whole food such as a car­rot, cel­ery or an ap­ple to boost your good gut bac­te­ria.

Health tip: Ac­etate is also nat­u­rally found in vine­gar, mak­ing reg­u­lar vine­gar con­sump­tion a great ad­di­tion, with fi­bre, to the diet. Pro­fes­sor Cooper sug­gests 1 tsp twice a day as ben­e­fi­cial.

Find Honor on In­sta­gram, Face­book and Twit­ter.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

GUT RE­AC­TION: Snack on whole foods such as fruit and veg­eta­bles to boost your good gut bac­te­ria.

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