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A Polyphenol-Rich Diet May Provide Gut Microbiota Health Benefits

Polyphenols are antioxidant-like compounds found it many botanicals that often provide the rich colors found in fruit and vegetables. High dietary intake of polyphenols has been linked to better health and longevity.  A new study has found that a diet rich in polyphenols may help increase certain measures of gut health and support a healthy inflammation response in the body.

The researchers enrolled 51 adults over the age of 60 for their 8-week study. Half were assigned to a polyphenol-rich diet that included green tea, bitter chocolate, and fruits such as apples, pomegranates, and blueberries. The other half were assigned to a control diet.

At the start and end of the study, the researchers measured serum levels of certain gut health and inflammation markers. They also analyzed the composition of gut microbiota at baseline and at the end of the study period.

Participants in the polyphenol-rich diet group saw significant increases in a measure of intestinal barrier integrity (signaling better gut function) and decreases in C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker, from baseline levels. They also saw increases in the beneficial bacteria Clostridiales and Enterobacteriales

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Barcelona. It was published online ahead of print March 22, 2022 in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

In a previous study, the probiotic Lactobacillus casei LTL1879 was found to provide gut microbiota benefits.

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