Gut Microbes in Plant-Based Diets Can Reduce Health Risks

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Plant-based diets are becoming popular and for a good reason.

A study conducted by Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, and his team from Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that foods incorporated in a plant-based diet could reduce obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Microbes and Blood Markers that Influence Diets

According to Andrew Chan, chief of the Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit at MGH and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, the microbes found in certain foods can lessen the risk of common diseases.

In the study, the researchers evaluated the following data:

  • microbiomes
  • dietary habits
  • metabolic blood biomarkers

They have found out that microbiomes are linked to foods and diets. The relationship between diet and microbiome varies among people.

Hence, the researchers have used Predict 1, the international coordination of diet and microbiome. PREDICT 1 stands for Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial 1.

To get results, researchers collected the following across 1000 participants from the UK and US:

  • sequence data of microbiome
  • specific and detailed dietary information
  • works of cardiometabolic blood markers

High Amount of Microbes in Plant Diets

The study showed that the participants who have rich, healthy, and plant-based diets have high levels of microbes. Lower levels of fats and inflammation were also found.

Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, shared his sentiments on nutrition. He said that whenever people eat, they also feed their gut microbes. Eating isn’t just about nourishment.

The participants’ gut microbiomes have high levels of nutrients. Microbiomes like Prevotella copri and Blastocystis species are beneficial. These microbiomes are responsible for maintaining sugar levels after a meal.

Researchers agreed that the microbiome data identified can be useful. The data can help identify cardiometabolic disease in people, even when they still don’t show any symptoms.

In addition to this, microbiome data can help prescribe a personalized diet that can improve the patient’s health.

The First Steps to More Supporting Studies

Nicola Segata, Ph.D., professor and principal investigator of the Computational Metagenomics Lab at the University of Trento, Italy, expressed his surprise in seeing the massive number of microbes in their study. The microbes found during the investigation were not even named yet.

This statement was also supported by Curtis Huttenhower, a co-senior author who co-directs the Harvard T.H. Chan Microbiome in Public Health Center. He added that PREDICT is one of the first studies that is personalized and will help discover molecules and components’ scale.

Aside from Andrew Chan who co-authored the study, Francesco Asnicar, Ph.D., and Sarah Berry, Ph.D., are co-first authors of the research.

It is a known fact that many types of food in plant-based diets are rich in fiber, but the benefits of plant-based ingredients don’t stop there.

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