Thursday, September 20, 2018 by Ellaine Castillo
Contrary to what many people believe, the food in a person’s diet affects more than just an individual. According to a study published in Nature, people who had low fiber intake can pass down the repercussions of this to future generations.
Researchers from Stanford University used mice to determine if following a low-fiber diet reduced populations of beneficial bacteria in the gut, as well as affect its diversity. The researchers observed that more than half of the bacterial species were reduced to 25 percent of their original population.
Most people who do not consume enough fiber might think that they can just switch to a high-fiber diet at any time, but the findings of the study indicate otherwise. Although there were improvements in bacterial population in mice that switched back to a high-fiber diet, only a third of the bacterial species that disappeared were able to come back. This means that when some bacteria disappear, they will be gone for good.
If these aren’t enough reasons to maintain high fiber intake, then just think of the future generations. Results of the study showed that beneficial bacteria that were lost in predecessors remained missing in their descendants. It was observed that the assortment of gut microbiota became less diverse after each generation of mice that was given low-fiber diet. By the fourth generation, only a quarter of the bacterial species initially present in the original mice were left behind.
The different bacteria that reside in a person’s gut are usually beneficial in nature. These bacteria are introduced to a person from the moment that they are born. As a person ages, their gut microbiome also continues to grow and diversify. In order to grow, these bacteria utilize fiber in the diet – which cannot be digested by human enzymes – as their main food source.
These bacteria have many health benefits that are not just limited to digestion. They can also give the immune system a boost by communicating with cells of the immune system to control its response to infections.
Helpful bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, can also promote the good type of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), leading to improved heart health. However, with the wrong type of food, gut bacteria may also produce a substance harmful to the heart. A study showed that when bacteria feed on eggs and beef, they produce trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which has been linked to heart attack and stroke.
Even the brain is affected by gut microbiome. Healthy bacterial populations in the gut help produce neurotransmitters, which are chemicals used by the cells to communicate with each other. In addition, communication between nerves in the gut and the brain can also be affected by bacteria in the gut.
Gut bacteria have also been shown to affect a person’s weight. One study showed that gut bacterial diversity is lower for obese people than lean people. Moreover, the study showed that transplanting gut bacteria from an obese person to mice leads to alterations in the metabolism of the mice, which made them gain weight and fat mass.
As previously mentioned, gut bacteria use fiber as their food source. In order to keep these bacteria happy and the body healthy, here are some fiber-rich foods that can be included in your diet:
Learn more about the different effects of the gut microbiota on health by visiting Health.news today.