Mediterranean Diet And Intestinal Health

The Mediterranean diet is known as a healthy and very beneficial form of nutrition. Recent studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet also improves gut health. Find out today what science has found out about this topic.

Mediterranean diet and gut health

In recent years, scientists have been studying the effects of the Mediterranean diet on intestinal health. While there is not enough research into this aspect, studies have shown some benefits, particularly microbiota-related. Learn more about the relationship between the Mediterranean diet and gut health today .

The intestinal microbiota is home to a wide variety of bacteria and microorganisms that play an essential role in our health. They have a positive effect on the immune system and, among other things, also influence the metabolism of food. 

But what does diet have to do with intestinal health? Why is the Mediterranean Diet So Healthy? Read on, today we have interesting reports on this topic.

Diet and Gut Health

The intestine is undoubtedly one of those organs that are particularly dependent on the quality of nutrition and lifestyle habits. The innumerable microorganisms that are at home here take an active part in vital functions  such as digestion, the immune system, inflammatory reactions or vitamin synthesis.

When the microbiota is healthy, balanced and able to perform its functions properly, it is characterized by the following properties:

  • The number of beneficial microorganisms is balanced.
  • Harmful microorganisms are limited.
  • The microbial diversity is adequate.

In the context of nutrition, it should be emphasized that certain foods promote the activity of bacteria, have anti-inflammatory effects and stimulate the formation of short-chain fatty acids.

mediterranean diet
Scientific studies indicate that diet plays an essential role in intestinal health.

Mediterranean diet and gut health

The Mediterranean diet has been subjected to numerous scientific studies. Overall, we can say that this type of diet is associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

A scientific study also indicates that the Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on intestinal health. The scientific work published  in the journal Gut concludes that following the Mediterranean diet for a period of one year has the following benefits:

  • It promotes those intestinal bacteria that endanger cognitive health and can lead to cognitive decline.
  • It also reduces bacteria associated with inflammatory processes.
  • It also inhibits the loss of bacterial diversity.
  • Another benefit is that it reduces inflammatory substances that are harmful to health.

In this context, it is important to mention  that the results, while positive, open new doors that need to be scientifically explored. The scientists point out that the state of health of the intestinal bacteria cannot be attributed to diet alone. So when we talk about gut health, there are a variety of things to consider.

Which aspects of the Mediterranean diet are particularly important for intestinal health?

While the Mediterranean diet varies by region, it generally relies on a few commonalities that are particularly important:

  • Extra virgin olive oil is the preferred source of fat  for both salads and cooking.
  • Vegetables are on the table every day, green-leaved vegetables are particularly important.
  • The Mediterranean diet also includes fruits and whole grains.
  • Dried fruits and legumes in moderation are also important.
  • In addition, the Mediterranean diet contains fish (especially fatty fish),  meat and dairy products in modest amounts.
  • Small amounts of red meat and saturated fat are also included in the diet.

The scientific evidence suggests that  certain foods are particularly healthy for intestinal health. We will then go into a little more detail.

Mediterranean diet with olive oil
Various foods on the Mediterranean diet provide nutrients that are particularly healthy for the microbiota because they reduce inflammation and have prebiotic effects.

1. fatty acids

Monounsaturated fatty acids and a very low proportion of saturated fatty acids are particularly recommended. This lipid profile is beneficial because it is associated with very low markers of inflammation.

2. Carbohydrates that can be metabolized by the microbiota

We are talking about MACs (Microbiota-Accessible Carbohydrates), which are metabolized in the intestine. The organism cannot digest these carbohydrates because it lacks the appropriate enzymes. They therefore get into the intestine, where fermentation takes place by the bacteria that have settled there.

They break them down into various components that are very healthy for intestinal health  and at the same time serve as food for the microorganisms. Studies have shown that people who usually follow a Mediterranean diet have more short-chain fatty acids in their stool.

3. Polyphenols

These substances are found in every diet, because polyphenols are abundant in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and aromatic herbs. They belong to the group of prebiotic nutrients,  which means that they nourish the intestinal bacteria. Polyphenols are very positive for the following reasons:

  • They increase the diversity of intestinal bacteria and
  • they also inhibit the spread of pathogenic bacteria.

Not only the right diet is important: Other healthy habits for the intestinal microbiota

Diet plays a crucial role in intestinal health,  but other aspects are also important in this context, such as lifestyle and various environmental factors. For example, stress has a very negative effect on the intestines. A lack of sleep and a lack of exercise also have negative consequences.

When we talk about food, in addition to making the right choices, you also need to consider healthy eating habits:  eat slowly, chew for a long time, and make sure you have enough water. To avoid harming gut bacteria, you should also abandon harmful habits like alcohol and tobacco.

Water in the Mediterranean diet
Adequate fluid intake is essential for the microbiota. You should also try to avoid stress and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

The Mediterranean diet is very beneficial for intestinal health!

Finally, we would like to emphasize once again the importance and health of traditional foods that are fresh and easy to prepare. The  Mediterranean diet not only promotes vascular and brain health, it also has a very positive effect on the intestinal flora. 

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