Getting enough fiber in your diet is a must. It’s been shown to lower inflammation, rev up your metabolism, and keep your heart healthy. Now a new study has revealed just how important it is for maintaining great gut health, too.
The research published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe is based on four weeks of observing mice that were either fed a grain-based diet, a high-fat diet, or a high-fat diet supplemented with fiber. The results showed that the grain-based diet was most beneficial to gut microbiota (you know, the lil’ microorganisms in your intestine). So, eating a diet full of the body-boosting nutrient—including goodies like lentils, beans (which you can also work into desserts), broccoli, and raspberries—could be the key to keeping gut microbiota thriving. And we all know the saying: Happy gut, happy life (that’s how that one goes, right?).
Here are 3 ways fiber helps to maintain great gut health.
1. It keeps your gut healthy
According to the study, eating a high-fiber diet increases the good bacteria in your gut, restoring your gut microbiota levels to keep everything running smoothly. When you promote the growth of the good guys, researchers say you can prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome, which increases blood pressure and excess body fat and can result in an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
2. It helps protect your gut
Bad bacteria in the gut attacks and kills the intestinal epithelial cells, which are connective tissues, in the body. But this study found that ingesting high-fiber foods restores bacteria that can help increase the production of the good cells, which is pretty important considering they’re the “first line of defense against gastrointestinal pathogens.”
3. It fights off bad bacteria
The study showed fiber also plays a big role in restoring the expression of the protein interleukin-22, which prevents gut microbiota from invading the ever-so-important intestinal epithelial cells. Thanks to fiber, interleukin-22 can signal those cells to kill the bad bacteria and keep them from invading.
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