Gut Microbes Can Be Picky Eaters – Here’s Why It Matters

 

Gut

 

By Tim Spector in The Conversation.

 

We choose our food for a variety of reasons, including personal preference, availability, cost and healthiness. But we should also take our gut microbes’ preferences into account, a new study published in Cell suggests.

The bacteria in our guts, collectively known as the microbiota or microbiome, live on the fibre and other chemicals that come their way from the foods we eat. “Fibre” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of sugar-based molecules (polysaccharides). It’s not clear how individual plant polysaccharides affect the growth of different species of beneficial gut bacteria.

While we know that people who eat a greater number of different plant-based foods have more diverse, healthier microbiomes, less is known about exactly which bacteria prefer which foods.

 

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