Is Your Diet Harming Your Gut Microbiome?
How you eat has long-lasting effects on your health, and nowhere is this more evident than in the way your diet affects your gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome – the billions of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract – plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health and well-being, as it has been linked to everything from weight loss to depression. Recent research has even suggested that the composition of your gut microbiome can be an indicator of whether or not you’re likely to develop certain chronic diseases later in life.
The gut microbiome influences how quickly you absorb calories
High-fiber, plant-rich diets are very important for gut health, which is why they are key to a successful diet. Vegetables, fruit and whole grains contain fibre that helps prevent constipation. To lose weight safely and quickly it’s best to make sure that your diet has plenty of fruits and vegetables in addition to lean proteins like fish or poultry. The protein in vegetarian sources helps keep you feeling full for longer than meat does, as does fibre from plants. Stay away from red meat as much as possible; research suggests that processed meat may be especially harmful to gut health! You might be surprised by how much weight you can lose if you eliminate just one serving of processed food each day!
Metabolic endotoxemia may be associated with obesity
A study from 2012 showed that obese people with metabolic endotoxemia had higher levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. The researchers postulated that eating a diet high in processed foods may lead to an increase in metabolic endotoxemia and cause adverse changes to your gut microbiome. To combat these changes and maintain a healthy gut microbiome, shift your diet towards more plant-based foods. Incorporating more whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and lean meats will help improve your gut health as well as lower-fat storage around your midsection!
People who have low levels of gut bacteria have a higher likelihood of inflammation
a condition that causes damage to arteries, bones, and other body parts. Arthritis and heart disease are associated with a compromised gut microbiome. A study of 1202 people showed that those who eat more processed or animal-derived fatty foods have a higher likelihood of low levels of gut bacteria in their colon. How did we get to where we are today? For many reasons, but especially because our diets have changed dramatically over recent years as a result of obesity—obesity which is caused in part by low fibre diets. Since Western cultures rely on fast foods and packaged dinners, they tend to be high in fat while low in nutrients.
Could it be possible to develop allergies by switching your diet?
Children who follow a vegetarian diet have a greater risk of becoming allergic to certain foods. It is thought that because they consume less animal-derived fats, their immune systems are less tolerant of them when they eat meat as adults. As a result, more children are now developing allergies than ever before. A study published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology reveals that children with no history of food allergies have an 8% chance of developing at least one after changing their diets. During the five years following dietary changes, allergy incidence increased from 13% to 26%. For example, 6% of those who became vegetarian developed milk or egg allergy within two years; 3% developed peanut allergy within four years; and 2% developed tree nut allergy by five years post-dietary change.
Changes in our guts are linked to changes in our brain
Several recent studies have found that changes in our gut can impact both mood and cognition. In one study, researchers fed yogurt to a group of men with depression and a group of healthy men. After only four weeks, those who consumed the yogurt showed significant improvement in mood compared to those who didn’t. Though more research is needed on how exactly these foods can improve cognition, it seems clear that making small but consistent changes in our diets could help ward off both anxiety and depression.
Vegan Diets May Improve Depression Symptoms
Vegan diets have long been championed as one of many healthy eating patterns, but a growing body of research suggests that eliminating animal-derived foods from your diet may not only help you lose weight and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes but also improve depression symptoms. Vegetarian diets are often viewed as synonymous with veganism, but vegetarian eating patterns don’t always exclude all animal-derived foods, such as eggs and dairy products.
What we eat also affects our mental health
research has found that a diet high in processed and animal-derived foods can harm our gut microbiome. This, in turn, affects our mental health: our gut microbiome is linked to depression and anxiety (1). Our research showed that mice who ate a diet rich in these animal fats exhibited social behaviours indicative of mental disorders (2), indicating that altering one’s diet could be an effective way to deal with these disorders.
Fibre from grains, fruits, and vegetables makes our gut bacteria happy
A diet high in fibre from grains, fruits, and vegetables is key to keeping your gut microbiome happy. How much you should be eating depends on your personal health, but a good place to start is around 25 grams of fibre per day. Don’t worry if you’re not an avid eater of these foods; there are many foods on the market that are great sources of fibre.