Following a Mediterranean-style diet is not only good for your body, it’s good for your gut, according to a study from the University of Naples in Italy. The gut microbiota was assessed in 153 people who followed different diets. Results showed that the majority of people who followed either vegan or vegetarian diets as well as 30% of omnivores all had a high adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet. Those subjects had higher levels of short chain fatty acids in their gut. These fatty acids are produced by bacteria in the intestines during fermentation of insoluble fiber from fruits, vegetables and legumes, and are associated with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and inflammatory disorders. The researchers conclude that many previous studies have shown health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and this study suggests that those benefits might come from the gastrointestinal tract and the metabolites that are released during the digestive process.
In case you’re hoping the Mediterranean diet contains meat-laden gyro sandwiches, researchers at the University of South Australia reviewed the research to clearly define exactly what the true Mediterranean daily diet consists of, which is: 3 to 9 servings of vegetables, 1 /2 to 2 servings of fruit, 1 to 13 servings of grains, and 8 servings of olive oil. Seafood also is an inclusion in the diet. The diet is approximately 37% total fat, 18% monounsaturated fat, and 9% saturated fat, with 33 grams of fiber. Sorry, little or no red meat here.
DeFilippis F, Pellegrini N, Vannini L, et al: High-level adherence to a Mediterranean diet beneficially impacts the gut microbiota and associated metabolome. Gut 2015;September 28th.
Davis C, Bran J, Hodgson J, et al: Definition of the Mediterranean diet: A literature review. Nutrients 2015;7:9139-9153.