New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Diet’s effect on the gut biome
Herman Melville, author of “Moby-Dick,” said: “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” A wonderfully true observation — but these days, with what we know about nutrition (and language), he might have said, “A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow humans — and the trillions of microbes that inhabit our guts!”
We’ve known that if you’re overweight or obese, your diet — fueled by sugars, unhealthy fats and highly processed foods — damages your heart and raises your risk for cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Studies have also found that in overweight folks, those food choices mess with your guts — making you more vulnerable to gut-based bacterial infections like from E. coli and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s.
But guess what? According to a new lab study in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, it isn’t being obese that makes it harder for you to resist bacterial infections in your intestinal tract, it’s the lack of fiber, no matter if you’re overweight or not.
To protect your innards from outside invaders and inside troublemakers, get a daily dose of fiber from 100% whole-grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
Aim for 25 grams of fiber daily for women and 38 grams for men — slightly less over age 50, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means unsweetened oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, a hearty salad with chickpeas, a variety of veggies, plus lean protein for lunch, and roasted veggies, quinoa and a salmon burger for dinner. You’ll live longer and healthier.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare. com.