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Study Identifies Diets Associated With Diverse Gut Microbiota

Gut microbiota are composed of several species of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast, and viruses. Diet and lifestyle patterns are the biggest factors that influence the variety of bacteria in your gut. A new study has found that diets that are rich in plants and fiber may be associated with a more diverse gut microbiota. 

Participants in the study included 4,930 adults who took part in the National FINRISK Study. The researchers used food propensity questionnaires to determine intakes of various food items. Participants were given a healthy food choices score based on intakes of food items that are recommended in the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations dietary guidelines. Stool samples were used to determine microbial diversity and compositional differences in gut microbiota. 

The researchers then looked at the association between the healthy food choice score and microbial diversity and compositional differences in gut microbiota and found that plant based foods, fiber-rich breads, poultry, fruits, and low-fat cheeses were all associated with greater microbial diversity. Vegetables, berries, and fruits were strongly associated with more diverse composition of gut microbiota.

Greater consumption of red meat and processed meat products were associated with a less healthy diversity in gut microbiota.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Helsinki. It was published online ahead of print on May 21, 2021 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 

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