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8 Diet and Lifestyle Choices That Greatly Impact Your Gut Flora
By Daisy Coyle
The human gut is home to more than 100 trillion bacteria, known as the "gut flora."
Having a healthy gut flora is incredibly important for your overall health.
Interestingly, many diet, lifestyle and other environmental factors can negatively affect your gut bacteria.
What are Gut Bacteria and Why are They Important?
Hundreds of species of bacteria reside in your gut. Some of them are friendly, while others are not.
Each group plays a role in your health and requires different nutrients for growth (3).
Therefore, it's important to keep your gut bacteria as friendly and abundant as possible.
Without further ado, here are eight surprising things that can cause harm to your gut bacteria.
2. Lack of Prebiotics in the Diet
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that passes through the body undigested and promotes the growth and activity of friendly gut bacteria (19).
Many foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, naturally contain prebiotic fiber.
A lack of them in the diet may be harmful to your overall digestive health (20).
Foods high in prebiotics include:
- Lentils, chickpeas and beans
- Jerusalem artichokes
One study in 30 obese women found that taking a daily prebiotic supplement for three months promoted the growth of the healthy bacteria Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium (21).
These fatty acids are the main nutrient source for the cells in your colon. They can be absorbed into your blood, where they promote metabolic and digestive health, reduce inflammation and can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer (23, 24).
Summary: Prebiotics are a type of fiber commonly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They are important for increasing healthy gut bacteria like Bifidobacterium.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla
As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.
By Lauren Wolahan
For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.
They're prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.
By Elliott Negin
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.