(HealthyResearch.com) – Every food choice you make could impact the balance of microbes living in your gut, and finding the right balance could be the key to achieving your best possible health. The Mediterranean diet could be a game-changer for those who currently follow unhealthy eating patterns or tend toward a Western diet.
Rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, healthy oils, lentils, beans and nuts, the Mediterranean diet naturally includes fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins B6, B9, and C, copper, manganese, magnesium, iron and potassium. Check out 7 ways the Mediterranean diet could impact your gut and overall health:
- Improve digestive health. A healthy gut microbiome can improve digestion. Its protective effects are so significant, a Mediterranean diet could even protect against later-onset Crohn’s disease. A study published in February of 2020 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) was undertaken over a year’s time and showed that adherence to the diet changed the gut flora and fauna in a way that reduced frailty with aging. Specifically, the diet promoted the growth of healthy bacteria and crowded out bacteria associated with the onset of frailty. The study also linked the change in gut biome with better maintenance of cognitive function with aging.
- Reduce cardiovascular risks. A Mediterranean diet can create changes in the gut that affect inflammation levels, and this may improve your cardiovascular health. The diet’s high polyphenol and vegetable fat content provide additional protection against the formation of dangerous plaques in the arteries.
- Protect against diabetes. Diet-related inflammation may also contribute to the formation of type 2 diabetes. Foods common to the Mediterranean diet are believed to feed the “good” strains of gut microbiota that keep your body forming healthy metabolites. This keeps you processing what you do eat as effectively as possible.
- Improve metabolism. The same anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect against heart disease and diabetes may also improve your metabolism. A healthy gut microbiome may also protect against obesity and metabolic syndrome.
- Slash cancer risks. A Mediterranean diet also impacts the microbiome in mammary ducts, which could affect breast cancer risks. Higher levels of certain organisms, such as Lactobacillus, appear to reduce those risks. Meta-analyses have shown a Mediterranean diet may also reduce instances of colorectal, liver, prostate, head/neck and gastric cancers.
- Improve brain function. You can reduce your risks of cognitive impairment as you age by adhering to a Mediterranean diet. You may even be able to improve some cognitive functioning by switching to a healthier diet. The connection between the gut and the brain is so huge, healthy fecal microbiota transplants could be a viable treatment against certain forms of cognitive decline.
- Boost mood. Diet can have massive effects on mood, and it all boils down to which gut microbes are getting their preferred foods. Switching to a Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce symptoms of depression. A study from Texas Tech University examined the bidirectional link between the gut and brain (gut-brain-axis, GBA) and showed how influential gut health can be on mental health and mental well-being. The study showed links between unhealthy gut biomes and anxiety, depression, hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) and stress.
The healthier you can make your gut, the healthier you’ll be overall. A wide variety of grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and healthy oils could help get you there.
How’s your health? Could your eating habits use an overhaul? Consider adopting a Mediterranean diet to improve your health, starting with your gut. You could reduce several health risks while giving your body the fuel it needs to be its healthiest.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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