New research presented at the 2015 meeting and food expo of the Institute of Food Technologists shows that eating a diverse selection of foods may help modify gut flora. In turn, this has implications in preventing obesity and diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Lead researcher Mark Heiman, vice president and chief scientific officer at MicroBiome Therapeutics, says modern agricultural practices as well as climate change have contributed to a loss of food diversity, with about 75% of the world’s population consuming only five animal species and 12 plant species, with rice, maize and wheat dominating the highest percentage of calories within the plant species group. “Like any ecosystem, the one that is most diverse in species is the one that is going to be the healthiest,” Heiman says. In his study conducted on those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, Heiman developed a therapeutic agent with inulin, beta-glucan and antioxidants. Those who took it experienced a shift in their gut flora, improved blood sugar control, increased satiety and better digestion.
While the therapeutic agent still merits further study, researchers say that making changes to your diet can help. Try incorporating different types of foods rich in inulin, beta-glucan and antioxidants into your diet, such as whole grains like oats and fruits and vegetables like onions, bananas, asparagus, garlic, blueberries and mushrooms.
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