Snacking on whole foods improves gut bacteria
Inflammation known to be a cause of health disorders
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.
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GUT REACTION: Snack on whole foods such as fruit and vegetables to boost your good gut bacteria.