In a massive-scale study conducted by Dutch scientists, it was found that gut flora plays an important role in the leveling process of our body mass index and cholesterol, the two most powerful factors that induce obesity. More than that, the same microbiome may tell you what are your risks of getting heart disease, which is also associated with obesity.
The study was published in the journal Circulation Research.
The Dutch team of researchers at the University Medical Center Groningen reviewed the gut flora of more than 900 people using a technologically advanced sequencing model. The analyses helped them identify at least 35 types of microbes that could affect the participant’s body mass index. A large part of these bacteria have been discovered during the experiment.
It was found that the diverse amount of bacteria from the gut flora could impact our body mass index up to 10%, and our high-density lipoprotein (cholesterol) levels by at least 5%. These microbes also affect 3-4% of the triglycerides, a type of body fat that is also associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the bacteria did not affect low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels.
What fascinated the researchers is that the results remained the same for every participant, regardless of other factors that are usually associated with obesity, such as gender or age.
The team suggested increasing the variety of the gut flora to efficiently stabilize the weight-control factors, such as body mass index and cholesterol levels. The researchers recommend having a diet that is rich in fiber, but low in meat. They have stressed that it is also important to eat food that is probiotic or prebiotic. Probitic food helps bacteria to multiply while prebiotic food acts sustains their existence.
Prebiotics are known to help the digestive health because of their nutrient-dense quality. The most popular foods that belong to this category are: asparagus, oat, wheat, rice, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, apples, cabbage, beans, lentils, and root vegetables.
Probiotics also help digestion by feeding good bacteria found in the gut flora, and they strengthen the immune system as well. Yogurt, kefir, miso soup, milk with probiotics, soft cheeses, and sour pickles are just a small part of the food types rich in probiotics.
Prebiotics and probiotics can also be found in the form of supplements.
However, researchers said that diet alone isn’t enough to fight weight-related problems, but it could help greatly. The body mass index and cholesterol levels depend heavily to the external environment, since bacteria vary from one region to another. The gut bacteria can also be affected by drugs, such as antibiotics.
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