The holidays are here, and one of the best ways to look and feel good in spite of the constant influx of sugar-packed, inflammatory foods is to be kind to your gut.
In a new study conducted by researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Health, it was found that diets low in natural fibre (not to soluble kind that's found in processed foods like cereal to increase its fibre content) can lead to an unbalanced gut microbiome and create an environment for pathogens to thrive!
If getting sick isn't on your agenda for the holidays or you've simply been eating more cookies than carrots lately, keep reading... this one is for you!
Why you need to consume enough fibre for optimal gut health
By now, you know that consuming enough fibre is essential for many things, from maintaining a healthy body weight to relieving digestive issues like constipation. It can even lower your risk of chronic illness like type 2 diabetes and heart disease! It’s safe to say that fibre has a stellar reputation in the food world...
But despite this reputation, few people know about the mechanism that fibre uses to protect one of your body’s most important organs – your gut. As it turns out, not getting your fibre fix causes a domino effect. In the study, researchers colonised mice with synthetic gut microbiota and found that a low-fibre diet (or a diet rich in soluble fibre) decreased the amount of fibre-eating friendly bacteria in the gut.
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The decrease in fibre-eating bacteria then allowed for mucous-eating bacteria to largely increase in strength and number, and tear through the mucous wall lining the GI tract. In the end, gut epithelial cells were left exposed and vulnerable to pathogens that can cause severe inflammation, leaky gut, colitis and other digestive problems.
This study is one of many that illustrate the connection between the well-being of your gut and what you eat! So what can you do if you’ve been eating more chocolate than chard these days?
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The negative effects of a low-fibre diet are reversible
Let’s refer back to the study – for the mice fed a high-fibre diet, the mucous barrier was intact and thriving by the end of the study, endorsing the benefits of consuming lots of high-fibre fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, peas, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and parsnips.
If you haven’t been eating a diet high in fibre lately, you shouldn’t sweat too much. When the researchers changed the mice’s diets to a high-fibre one, their gut bacteria bounced back in just one day! Yes, this may sound amazing, but after all your body is a machine that’s designed to heal by itself.
The bottom line is that by supporting your gut’s healthy, fibre-feeding bacteria, your gut mucosal layer will be able to do its job properly and protect you from sickness. What are you waiting for? Get munching on fibre-rich foods!
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