Trillions of bacteria and other microbes live in the human digestive system. Together, they form a community that’s known as the gut microbiota. Many bacteria in the microbiota play important roles in human health, helping to metabolize food, strengthening intestinal integrity, and protecting against disease.

To help friendly bacteria in the gut thrive, new research presented at UEG Week 2019 suggests it may help to eat a Mediterranean-style diet that’s rich in plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts, as well as fish. When researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen in The Netherlands assessed the eating habits and gut bacteria of more than 1,400 participants, they found that a Mediterranean-style diet was linked to healthier gut microbiota. It was also associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers in the stool. This points to the role that a plant-rich diet might play in helping to protect against intestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

There are many reasons you want to have a diverse, healthy gut, but one of the most powerful reasons is that it can boost your brain’s cognitive function and your mood in general. Recent research from John’s Hopkins labeled the gut as your “second brain”, so perhaps, it’s time to do it a favor and make the Mediterranean diet a part of your eating habits.

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