Research demonstrates that a typical western diet, which is relatively low in fibre and plant matter, and higher in ‘white’ processed foods and sugar, negatively shifts the intestinal microbial balance, resulting in an altered ratio of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ bacteria.
Akkermansia muciniphilia and gut protection
We also know that key beneficial bacteria such as Akkermansia muciniphila are reduced when there is less plant matter being consumed.
Akkermansia municiphila supplies your gut’s lining with a layer of mucus. This mucus layer is essential for protection (autoimmunity). This type of bacteria loves to feed off pomegranate, green tea and cranberry.
An altered ratio of healthy gut bacteria and changes to microbial composition is associated with a below-par metabolic pattern, obesity, impaired insulin secretion, and glucose dysregulation, amongst many other health conditions.
SCFA and gut permeability
Without a healthy and diverse mix of bacteria in the gut, there is a reduction of short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production, which can also contribute to increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). When there is gut permeability, there are low-grade inflammatory responses triggered by the body, as well as increased lipopolysaccharides (LPS) production and translocation to other areas in the body, which again drives systemic inflammation.
Polyphenols and prebiotics are important in modifying gut flora
Polyphenol-rich foods, such as cacao and red dragon fruit, are renowned for their health-promoting qualities, but also have prebiotic activity. Prebiotic foods help to promote the diversity of healthy intestinal bacteria.
Other prebiotic fibres including acacia gum and slippery elm, enhance microbial diversity providing fuel for healthy bacteria via the production of SCFAs.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains, such as the Mediterranean diet, increases the diversity of microbiota and encourages a shift to a healthier ratio of bacterial species.
The best news is, the microbiome responds rapidly to dietary modifications, with quantifiable effects taking place in as little as 24 hours.
To treat digestive issues from the underlying cause, make time to see our South Yarra naturopath, Brisbane naturopath, Sydney Naturopath, Perth Naturopath, Hobart naturopath, or Adelaide Naturopath, or find out if we can help you by booking a FREE 20 minute Discovery Call online via zoom
Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of digestive complaints, skin issues, mood disorders, hormonal concerns, fatigue, and also has a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions. Yvette consults Australia-wide via Zoom. Book HERE
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