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This gut-healthy eating plan is science-backed

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Whether you’re doing a dry January, committing to Whole30, or going Paleo, it would be nice to start a new eating plan knowing science was on your side, right? So, what’s the best way to go? According to a new study published in Cell Host & Microbe, changing the bacteria levels in your gut will have the biggest impact.

You might already know the microbiome is the body’s second brain and affects everything from how happy you are to your immune system, sleep, and of course, digestive issues such as bloating. But what exactly does a bacteria-changing eating plan entail?

Researchers compared gut bacteria from a group that ate a diet high in animal protein with a group whose calories came mostly from plant-based foods and found that the gut bacteria for the latter group was much healthier than the first.

The study also points out that seeing the positive changes may be more of the slow-and-steady variety (AKA not an overnight, life-changing event) because it takes the body time to adapt to a new, healthier eating plan. But after the initial transitional period, the body adjusts and the benefits start manifesting.

The big takeaway is one you probably already know: eating plants is good for you. So no matter what eating plan you’re following in the new year, load up on the veggies.

Looking for new ways to get your plant-based fill? Check out these 10-minute recipes that are Paleo and vegan. And here’s one that’s Beyonce-approved.