Life Extension Blood Test Super Sale

Daily News: Nutrition

Quinn on Nutrition: Cultivating a healthy gut


Monterey County Herald (CA)

08-23-13

I remember the first time _ many years ago _ that I heard the term "probiotic" at a nutrition conference. I was amazed as I listened to the speaker review volumes of research about these "good gut bacteria" that help our body digest food, assist in making B-vitamins and vitamin K, and fight against aggressive disease-causing bacteria. Fascinating.

Today, a whole new area of nutrition research _ including the "Human Microbiome Project" _ is seeking to understand how specific "gut flora" (beneficial microorganisms that live in our intestinal tract) affect our health.

And there's plenty to understand. According to a recent article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people with normal digestion tend to have different types of gut bacteria than people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders. Our ability to gain or lose weight may even be influenced by the type and amount of bacteria in our intestines, according to preliminary research. Wow.

So what do bacteria in our intestines have to do with nutrition? Plenty. The foods we eat affect the flora that grows in our gut. And the flora that grows in our gut can impact our health, say researchers.

Here's one way it may work: Dietary fiber _ the indigestible part of a plant food _ travels through the body ... undigested. When it reaches the lower end of the digestive tract (the colon), it becomes food for the friendly microbes (probiotics) that live there.

These bacteria ferment the fiber (known as "prebiotics") and produce short chain fatty acids _ substances that nourish and preserve cells in the colon and the liver. It's this process, say researchers, that may help prevent gastrointestinal diseases as well as cancer and heart disease.

All gut bacteria is not created equal, however. My microbiota is different from your microbiota, say experts. And our gut bacteria is altered by the types of foods we eat.

People who eat a high fiber diet, for example _ rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, and nuts _ have a more diverse variety of gut microflora, according to nutrition professor Megan Baumler, PhD, RD. (Good bacteria in our colon, remember, thrive on dietary fiber.) And a thriving assortment of these microorganisms in the gut is considered very beneficial.

We can also eat foods or take supplements that contain "probiotics" (beneficial bacteria) or "prebiotics" (plant fibers that feed gut flora), says researcher Peter Beyer, MS, RD. Cultured dairy foods like yogurt or kefir contain probiotics for example. And we are beginning to learn how various probiotics are specific to certain health conditions. Fascinating.

Stress can disrupt the level of healthy gut bacteria in our gut, say experts. All the better to continue eating a high fiber plant-based diet during times of stress, they advise.

These associations between what we eat, our gut bacteria and our health are truly sensational. But so is a good diet, says Beyer. "It's plant-based, high fiber, and it's what we've been saying all along."

Now we have one more reason.

___

(Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of the "Diabetes DTOUR Diet" (Rodale 2009) and the "Diabetes DTOUR Diet Cookbook" (Rodale 2010). Email her at bquinn@chomp.org.)

___

(c)2013 The Monterey County Herald

Visit The Monterey County Herald at www.montereyherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

KeyWords:: BC-NTR-HEALTH-ONNUTRITION:MN BC NTR HEALTH ONNUTRITION MN

Copyright Monterey County Herald (CA) 2013

Articles featured in Life Extension Daily News are derived from a variety of news sources and are provided as a service by Life Extension. These articles, while of potential interest to readers of Life Extension Daily News, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Life Extension.

  • Consumer Alerts | Learn about issues that could impact your right to obtain the nutritional supplements and/or hormones such as DHEA that you depend on.

  • LEF Forum | Life Extension hosts Forums on Supplements, Hormones, Lifestyles, Disorders/Diseases, and other areas of interest to life extensionists worldwide.

  • What's Hot | News flashes are posted here frequently to keep you up-to-date with the latest advances in health care, nutritional supplements, and longevity.

  • Legislative Action Center | Take action on important current issues featured in Life Extension magazine and our web site.

  • Events | Find out about upcoming life extension related conferences, seminars, and meetings, or view reports on past events.

  • Life Extension Update | Our periodical newsletter reports new findings in longevity, preventive medicine and disease as soon as they are discovered!

  • Multimedia Center | An information-packed collection of video and audio featuring various health topics of importance to you.

Top 12 Steps For Achieving Ultimate Health