Study reveals which parts of your diet may be fueling inflammation

Your diet exerts considerable influence over your health, and that's partly due to its effect on gut bacteria. The foods you regularly eat have a distinct impact on your gut microbiome, which is easily influenced by things like whether you get enough dietary fiber every day or not. A new study has found that consuming specific types of food and beverages may fuel pro-inflammatory gut bacteria changes and lead to health issues.

The new study analyzed gut microbiome samples from more than 1,100 participants in an effort to link dietary patterns and foods to various gut bacteria compositions and their impact on inflammation. As a result, the researchers linked dozens of nutrients and foods to different metabolic processes and bacteria species.

Some foods were linked to a greater volume of 'bad' bacteria species that may contribute to inflammation in the body. Likewise, certain other types of foods and dietary patterns were linked to an increase in 'good' gut bacteria that plays an important role in decreasing inflammation.

Foods linked to an increase in 'bad' gut bacteria with pro-inflammatory properties included animal-based products, processed food, fast foods like fries and soda, strong alcoholic drinks, sugar, and similar. On the other hand, anti-inflammatory gut bacteria included foods like fish, nuts, vegetables and other plant foods, fermented low-fat dairy like yogurt, red wine, and similar

The researchers note, among other things, that certain 'bad' bacteria will begin eroding the protective mucus layer in the gut if you don't eat enough fiber, potentially playing a role in diseases like IBS and Crohn's disease. Though the study was observational in nature, the researchers explained:

The findings suggest shared responses of the gut microbiota to the diet across patients with [Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome] and the general population that may be relevant to other disease contexts in which inflammation, gut microbial changes, and nutrition are a common thread[...]

Long-term diets enriched in legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts; a higher intake of plant over animal foods with a preference for low-fat fermented dairy and fish; while avoiding strong alcoholic drinks, processed high-fat meat and soft drinks, have a potential to prevent intestinal inflammatory processes via the gut microbiome.