Study Details Diet That Fuels Anti-Inflammatory Gut Bacteria

A new study out of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands details the type of diet that was found to fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria, particularly strains that have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. The results aren't terribly surprising — that is to say, you'll have to eat a healthy diet if you want a healthy gut. Among other things, the study found that high amounts of sugar and meat make things worse.

The research, which was recently presented at the UEG Week 2019 in Barcelona, involved four groups of people: participants who represented the general population, as well as people who suffered from Crohn's disease, IBS, and ulcerative colitis. Each person's unique gut bacteria profile was analyzed using stool samples.

Gut microbiota, as it is often called, is greatly impacted by one's diet and is also tightly linked to one's overall health. A poor diet has a negative impact on gut bacteria, causing some strains to die off and others to flourish. Depending on the foods one typically consumes, this change in gut bacteria may trigger inflammation, promote obesity, and more.

A number of past studies have looked at gut microbiota and worked to link certain bacteria strains to different health benefits and conditions, hoping to shed light on dietary changes and supplements that could potentially reduce symptoms in some sufferers and help protect against certain chronic diseases.

As a result of their analysis, the researchers found that diets high in fish, nuts, legumes, and bread were linked to a drop in harmful bacteria and in the markers that hint at intestinal inflammation. In addition to those foods, the study also found that diets with red wine, fish, fruit, vegetables, and cereal were linked to a greater quantity of gut bacteria that may reduce inflammation.

Whereas plant-based protein was linked to the improved biosynthesis of amino acids and vitamins, among other things, eating more meat was linked to a drop in 'good' bacteria and an increase in the markers that hint at increased inflammation. Higher consumption of sugar and fast food was also linked to greater inflammation and a drop in beneficial gut bacteria.