What you eat or do not eat may be impacting your health in ways you didn't even expect! Researchers in Europe have found that the less diverse the bacteria (aka microbes) in your intestinal system, the more you may gain weight and put yourself at risk for certain diseases.
The good news is that there are plenty of foods and ways to boost the diversity of good bacteria in your intestinal system. Loading up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods can increase the diversity of your intestines! Plus cutting back on your overall calorie intake can help as well, a study Nature found that placing individuals on a lower calorie intake resulted in a boost of intestinal microbe diversity.
Boost your overall fruit and vegetable intake. Make it your goal to have fruit and/or vegetables at every meal and most snacks!
Try these snack ideas:
- guacamole with carrot sticks
- celery with almond butter
- apple and handful of cashews
- nuts and dried cranberries
Focus on whole grains. A bonus with whole grains is that they are loaded with fiber that naturally helps to fill you up. While the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends to make 1/2 of your grains whole grains... help your health by making almost all of your grains whole grains.
Whole grains to include: quiona, millet, amaranth, brown rice, brown rice pasta, soba (buckwheat) noodles, wheat berry, farro, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and bran.
If whole grains intimidate you or you are not sure how to cook whole grains, check out the The Whole Grains Council for great references and recipes.
Fermented foods. You likely have heard that yogurt can boost your intestinal health because of the healthy bacteria -- other fermented foods can too like: kefir (fermented yogurt drink), miso soup, sauerkraut and pickles.
Work in small amounts of fermented foods like: kefir at breakfast, miso soup with dinner or pickles on a sandwich. Try this Food Network Ginger Miso Soup recipe!
Dietary intervention impact on gut microbial gene richness. http://nature.com, Accessed 10/4/2013.