Consumption of Fruit, Vegetables and Whole Grains Shown To Increase Presence of Beneficial Bacteria
Most of the microbes in your intestines are found in a "pocket" of your large intestine called the cecum, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome. These microbes help control weight, fight infection, regulate sleep, and keep skin healthy. A new study has found that consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains results in a higher prevalence of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine analyzed the composition and structure bacteria in the gut microbiome via gene sequencing of colonic mucosal biopsies taken from 34 participants. A food frequency questionnaire was used to determine dietary consumption of the participants.
The researchers also used the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) to assess the correlation between foods consumed and the presence of beneficial bacteria. The scores used were total HEI, total and whole fruits (HEI 1 and HEI 2), whole grains (HEI 6), milk products and soy beverages (HEI 7), and solid fat, alcohol, and added sugar (HEI 12).
A lower score for total HEI and HEIs 2, 7, and 12 was associated with significantly lower abundance of potentially beneficial bacteria and increased abundance of potentially harmful bacteria. A higher total score was associated with significantly higher abundance of potentially beneficial bacteria, such as those with anti-inflammatory properties.
The study was published on July 10, 2019 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.