Not only do high-fat diets chock full of high-calorie fast foods and short on fiber expand your waistline, trigger blood sugar spikes and harm your heart, they disrupt the gut-brain axis that increases your risks for depression and other related health problems.

Fortunately, there’s very healthy and delicious foods you can eat that do double-duty to promote a healthy gut and protect your body from disease, like almonds and dark chocolate.

Add the flavorful, low-fat/high-fiber mango to that list of gut-healthy foods, based on a recent Journal of Nutrition study.

Beating the obesity epidemic sweetly

You may recall how researchers have concluded more diversity in the gut lowers your chances of obesity. Conversely, previous studies have also found lower levels of Bifidobacteria in people fighting obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.

Scientists at Oklahoma State University and North Carolina State University compared the health of 60 male mice, based on feeding them high-fat diets supplemented with or without mangos and in varying amounts (1 or 10 percent).

Animals fed a high-fat diet plus 10 percent in mangos — equal to humans eating 1.5 cups of this delicious fruit — retained more of their gut bacteria than those fed lower amounts.

Also, the addition of mangos to the diets of mice resulted in their guts containing more gut bacteria, specifically Bifidobacteria and Akkermansia (bacteria found in lower amounts in obese animals), and improved production of short-chain fatty acids (SFCAs), beneficial compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.

“Fiber and other bioactive compounds in plant-based foods are suggested to prevent gut dysbiosis caused by a high-fat diet,” said Edralin A. Lucas, Ph.D., professor of nutritional sciences at Oklahoma State and lead researcher of the study, according to a press release.

“The results of this animal study showed that adding mango to the diet may help maintain and regulate gut health and levels of beneficial bacteria levels.”

What’s ahead

Researchers caution more work needs to be done to confirm the benefits of eating mangos on the human gut once and for all, especially for those whose diets aren’t the healthiest.

Despite their nutritional benefits — the average serving (one cup) of mangos contains about 100 percent of Vitamin C and 35 percent of Vitamin A — this juicy stone fruit has 23 grams of sugar and 25 grams of carbohydrates, not small amounts for people who are trying to kick the sugar habit. (So, if you enjoy mangos, be sure to eat them in moderation.)

No matter how nutritious, fatty or sugary your diet may be, taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic is a safe, proven way to protect your health and your gut.