The key takeaway from my book, Wild Mediterranean: The Age-Old, Science-new Plan for a Healthy Gut, with Food You Can Trust: the Mediterranean diet is best for digestive health and the beneficial bacteria that exist in our microbiome.
The Mediterranean diet has long been known for its benefits that are linked to lower risk of many diseases, living longer and healthier, and the included perk of tasting really good.
Gut bacteria thrive on the ancestral Mediterranean food template because it’s filled with plant fiber as a bulk portion of the diet which also includes healthy fats like cold-pressed olive oil. Ultimately, research is validating that these sources of macronutrients help feed the beneficial microbes in your gut which studies have correlated to optimal digesive health.
Evidence to support
Enter the Flemish Gut Flora Project, the world’s first population-wide study of gut flora variation among healthy volunteers, linking over 69 factors that can be associated with gut flora composition and diversity.
In the study, stool transit time showed the “strongest association to gut flora composition. Also, diet was an important factor, with most associations related to fiber consumption.”
Vegetables are bursting with fiber.
Even though we’ve learned a lot from the Flemish study, can you believe that only 7% of our gut flora landscape was identified?
This means that gut health studies are in their infancy and the team has suggested that an “enormous amount of work still needs to be done in order to sketch out the entire gut flora ecosystem. The Raes Lab estimates that around 40,000 human samples will be required just to capture a complete picture of gut flora biodiversity.”
I believe these studies are at the crest of a whole new wave of research on what our guts are telling us, and that the age-old practices I’ve seen first hand in Mediterranean villages combined with science-new research truly supports gut health; you cannot have one without the other.