One of the easiest and best things you can do to give your health a much needed boost is to eat more foods rich in dietary fiber.
When you hear people talking about eating more dietary fiber (found in whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables), it’s mostly associated with treating constipation.
However, eating more dietary fiber — the indigestible parts of plant foods that pass through your lower gastrointestinal tract relatively intact — does a lot to promote good heart health too.
Based on previous research, it doesn’t take eating a whole lot more dietary fiber to make a heart-healthy difference. But the hows and whys have been a mystery to scientists…
A recent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA and the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) may go a long way toward explaining the reasons behind this gut-healthy benefit that gets far less attention than it should.
The fatty acid connection
Wisconsin scientists identified one species of gut bacteria — Roseburia — linked to the production of the beneficial fatty acid butyrate in the guts of germ-free mice. Conclusions from the study appearing in Nature Microbiology showed reduced inflammation and atherosclerosis.
But there’s one catch: The presence of Roseburia alone wasn’t enough.
Feeding mice a high-fiber diet was the catalyst that provided extra protection. Even test animals who had Roseburia in their gut microbiomes but not enough fiber in their diets just didn’t produce enough butyrate to make a heart-healthy difference.
To ensure their high-fiber results were valid, researchers fed germ-free mice that lacked butyrate-producing bacteria a slow-release version of butyrate that would survive intact through their gastrointestinal tract.
No surprise, the presence of butyrate alone reduced signs of atherosclerosis and inflammation along with the amount of fatty plaques.
Leaky gut issues
This study really underscores the important link between dietary fiber and gut health, given previous research that found human patients with cardiovascular disease had diminished levels of gut bacteria and butyrate-producing Roseburia.
Not to mention, the presence of leaky gut, a condition in which unintended substances penetrate the vulnerable intestinal lining of the gut and into the bloodstream, is linked in a huge way to inflammation.
The good news: It doesn’t take much dietary fiber to make a big difference in your health. Increasing your intake of dietary fiber by 1 ounce (30 grams) can lower your cardiovascular risks and help you lose weight too.
In addition to eating a bit more dietary fiber every day, taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic can do a lot of good by promoting the natural fermentation process that feeds and protects your gut.