Since eating a healthy diet is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy and happy inner biome, I thought I’d catch you up on some of the latest papers out there.
I spotted another “most popular medical stories of 2018” article on Medical Express[i], and took a skim through. One of the items stated, “…a combined team of researchers from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that fat consumption is the only cause of weight gain. In their study with mice, they found that sugar and carbohydrates did not lead to weight gain no matter how much was consumed.” Whoa! The low-carb/Atkins/Paleo/ketogenic diet communities must have freaked when reading that statement!
The controversy over the optimal diet for health, weight loss, etc. rages on year after year. I have read books and scientific articles about all these different diets and at this point, truly have absolutely no idea which is correct. There is scientific evidence to be found on all sides. But what I do know is that we Americans, and people from other industrialized countries around the world, are doing nothing but getting fatter. We are doing something wrong…and I have to believe in the truth of the mounting evidence that biome depletion is a factor.
In the meantime, pretty much weekly, another article is published showing the benefits of eating a Mediterranean type diet, high in fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil and low in dairy, sweets and lean meats. A month ago, a study[ii] was published by a team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health which “…found a 25 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease among study participants who consumed a diet rich in plants and olive oil and low in meats and sweets.” The research was based on data from 25,000 female health professionals who provided both information about their diets and blood samples, to follow biomarkers, for 12 years.
10 days or so after I read about that, another paper[iii] came out showing, yet again, that eating junk food (foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats and carbohydrates) increases the risk of depression by about 40%. In this case, the scientists analyzed data from 11 existing studies covering in total, about 100,000 people. “An anti-inflammatory diet—containing more fibre, vitamins (especially A, C, D) and unsaturated fats—has the opposite effect, and could be implemented as a treatment for depression. Therefore, a Mediterranean diet of olive oil, tomatoes, green vegetables and fatty fish could help lower depressive.”
And then last week, I read about a 3rd study[iv] that demonstrated that eating more fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of memory loss. Again, data provided by 28,000 health professionals, over the course of 20 years, was used. “Researchers found that the more vegetables, fruit, and fruit juice the men consumed, the better their memory skills. Those that ate a lot of leafy green vegetables, vegetables high in carotenoids, and berry fruits lowered their risk of memory loss. Also, the men who drank more orange juice in their seventies scored better on the memory skills questionnaire.” In fact, the orange juice consumption so stood out that the researchers are recommending that this link be pursued in further research.
Of course all these studies have their flaws, but when taken as a whole – these, plus the hundreds of others in the literature – demonstrate pretty clearly that a healthy diet has tremendous effect on long-term health. As this last article concludes, “It is empowering to know that by simply eating more fruits and vegetables, and drinking orange juice can lower the risk for memory loss. This study suggests that individuals can improve brain health by making a few simple diet changes that can pay off in the long run.”
Of course, a diet rich in fiber – as I have written about over and over – is incredibly beneficial to your gut bacteria. So, for the sake of your and your gut buddies, commit to a healthy diet. It’s the best New Year’s resolution you can make for yourself.