Is there a link between gut flora and fiber?

dietary fiber, fiber, fruits, grains, gut bacteria, gut flora, microbiota, Olumia Life, probiotic, vegetables

fiber, youplus   Dietary fiber is an essential part of your continued health. Fiber benefits our bodies in a litany of ways, like reducing appetite, regulating your bowels and helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. However, scientists at the University of Illinois have announced that we can add one more benefit to the list. Fiber has a link to beneficial gut flora that help us lose weight and stay lean.

Gut flora: Your own personal ecosystem

Gut flora, also called gut bacteria or microbiota, are the trillions of microscopic organisms living in your digestive tract. Don’t worry, they’re entirely normal. In fact, our bodies can’t function properly without them. This doesn’t apply to all bacteria, but we can optimize the good types of microbiota through healthy living. Our mutually beneficial relationship with gut flora has evolved over millennia, but our understanding of its intricacies has only been focused on recently. One way of the numerous ways gut flora help us is through weight control. There are a great many different types of bacteria living together, each with different functions. One type, a group known as the bacteriodetes, are an important part of avoiding obesity and losing weight.

The fiber study

Researchers at the University of Illinois analyzed the gut flora in men with and without fiber supplements in their diet. According to their study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fiber was found to increase the amount of bacteriodetes in the gut while lowering the levels of the less-helpful firmicutes. According to Hannah Holscher, a researcher on the study, “This was of particular interest to us because other research has shown that having more bacteroidetes may be beneficial because the higher that proportion is, the individual tends to be leaner. With higher firmicutes, that individual tends to be more obese.” This is a great example of how two parts of our health can interact with each other and produce better results than either one would alone. A fiber-rich diet is already an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Proper levels of beneficial gut flora reduce the risk of diabetes, colon cancer and more. Combining them optimizes your results. “We don’t know if there is any causality for weight loss,” said Holscher, “but studies have shown that having a higher fiber diet is protective against obesity. It’s an exciting shift and helps to drive researchers to study these fibers as part of a weight loss diet.”

How much fiber are you getting?

Most Americans aren’t getting enough fiber in their daily diet. Fiber can be found in all sorts of places, like whole grains and many fruits. Granny smith apples, for example, are a great source of dietary fiber and are particularly helpful to gut flora. Other good sources of fiber include:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables, like cauliflower, carrots and green beans
  • Fruits

You can find out more about fiber and other important parts of the the Olumia Life Nutrition plan through the app.

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