Feed the good bacteria in your gut and reap glorious rewards. That was the upshot of an important new study culminating from several years of research. For this study researchers put a group of type 2 diabetics on one of two diet protocols. Group one was placed on a standard diabetes diet and group two on a diet enriched with plant-based foods high in the various fibers known to feed the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract. These special types of fiber are called prebiotics. Both diets were otherwise identical in their number of calories and in their protein, carb, and fat content. After 12 weeks, despite consuming equal calories and macronutrients, study subjects on the specialized fiber-enriched diet experienced significantly greater improvements in their blood sugar and blood lipid levels, in addition to losing more weight.
The researchers dug deeper to uncover what was behind these impressive results. They determined that the fiber-enriched diet promoted the growth of several species of good bacteria that ultimately became the dominant bacteria in the study subjects’ guts. These good bacteria then fermented (digested) the fiber in high fiber test diet and produced short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s), including butyrate and acetate. These SCFA’s, in turn, stopped the growth of bad bacteria and improved blood sugar metabolism, as well as overall metabolism.
SCFA’s produced when good bacteria ferment fiber are now being heralded as Superheroes in the gut – doing everything from improving appetite control, stimulating immunity, quieting inflammation, boosting metabolism, and maintaining the health and function of the vital cells that line our GI tracts. In short, they are all the rage!
Feed Your Gut Right to Boost Your Short-Chained Fatty Acids
The single most powerful influence you have on your microbiome, the “good” bacteria in your gut, is to “feed it” properly! The beneficial bacteria in your GI tract thrive on the fiber present in the plant-based foods you eat. Meaning, they are strictly vegan! In contrast, bad bacteria, which compete with the good and promote disease, tend to prefer processed, industrial foods and animal foods that lack fiber. Good bacteria digest plant-based fibers to produce highly beneficial compounds called short-chained fatty acids (SCFA’s). When it comes to boosting SCFA’s, certain types of plant fibers are even better than others. Your microbiome’s preferred types of fiber are inulin and arabinogalactans.
The foods that offer the most of these special fibers (also known as prebiotics) are:
Think of these foods as the “superstars” for feeding your microbiome. Eat them often!
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