Coloring for a Healthy Microbiome
More hues in your shopping cart can lead to a happier gut.
“Eat the rainbow” is often-stated maxim among nutritionists. Why? Because filling your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is a sure-fire way to load up on important health-promoting nutrients and antioxidants. And it may also be a good way to foster a more healthy microbiome.
As reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people who had higher total carotenoid, beta carotene, alpha carotene, cryptoxanthin and lycopene concentrations in their blood—an indicator that they are eating more vegetable and fruits where these plant compounds are most abundant—also tested for a greater gut microbiome diversity and a larger population of beneficial microorganisms.
Since a healthy microbiome is being linked with a range of benefits including improved brain and immune functioning, this is another reason why the more naturally occurring colors on your plate at each meal or snack, the better.
See also: Food Choices for Gut Microbiome Health
Matthew Kadey, MS, RD
Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.
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