In the study presented at UEG Week Barcelona, 2019, researchers have found that plant-based and Mediterranean food have bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties that provide protection and nourishment for the guts.
These foods have high levels of friendly gut bacteria that support the biosynthesis of essential nutrients.
Mediterranean Foods and plant-based diets include legumes, bread, fish, nuts, and wine. These foods help in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are the primary source of energy for cells lining the colon. Gut microbiota is the microbe population living in the intestine. They play an essential role in human health, immune, metabolic, and neurobehavioral traits. This diet could be useful for intestinal diseases through the modulation of gut bacteria.
A higher intake of meat, fast foods, or refined sugar leads to a decrease in beneficial bacterial functions and increases the inflammatory markers. Red wine, legumes, vegetables, fruit, cereals, fish, and nuts produce a higher abundance of bacteria with anti-inflammatory functions. Plant-based diets were found to be associated with high levels of bacterial SCFA production in the research.
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Animal-derived and plant-derived protein show the opposite effect on the gut microbiota. Plant protein was found to help the biosynthesis of vitamins and amino acids, as well as the breaking down of sugar alcohols and ammonium excretion.
Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Laura Bolte said: “The results indicate that diet is likely to become a significant and serious line of treatment or disease management for diseases of the gut – by modulating the gut microbiome.”
“A diet characterized by nuts, fruits, greater vegetable and legume intake than animal protein, combined with moderate consumption of animal-derived foods like fish, lean meat, poultry, low-fat fermented dairy, and red wine, and a lower intake of red meat, processed meat, and sweets, is beneficially associated with the gut ecosystem in our study,” the researcher added.