Gut Diversity is the New Low Cholesterol
Why you need to keep the bacteria healthy
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In one of the largest microbiota studies
conducted in humans, researchers found that fit elderly subjects had similar gut microbiotic composition as people decades younger, signaling a potential link between aging well and a healthy gut.
As we get older, our gut microbe diversity
could dip as a result of taking certain medications, diet, and environmental factors, says Christy Wilson, a Tucson, Arizona-based registered dietician. In fact, a less diverse gut environment is common in those with chronic illness and conditions associated with inflammation. "The most basic function of beneficial bacteria in our gut is to fight harmful substances that enter the body. It makes sense that a stronger and more varied collection (combined with eating healthy foods that foster such a range) will result in the bacteria being more effective at doing their job," she adds.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Eating a plant-based
, high-fiber diet, and drinking plenty of water promotes a healthy gut and overall wellness, says Wilson. She also recommends incorporating pre- and probiotics, which fuel good bacteria growth by incorporating fermented foods
, whole grains, and bananas into your meals.