It’s not just dietary fiber that affects our microbiome; certain antioxidants play a role, too, and applying this knowledge may help keep belly bulge at bay.

Food scientists in the U.S., Germany and England discovered that people with higher intakes of anthocyanins—a class of antioxidants abundantly present in deeply hued fruits like blueberries, raspberries and plums—had a higher microbial diversity in their guts than those with lower intakes. And part of their internal critter make-up included a greater population of specific species, which may explain why the higher-anthocyanin group also tested for lower levels of visceral adipose tissue—a type of fat mass located deep in the abdomen and around internal organs that is considered to be especially dangerous for health.

This is just more evidence showing that the bugs within us and the way we feed them appear to carry a lot of clout when it comes to our well-being. That makes your microbiome a welcome recipient of this berry-heavy dessert.

1 C fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries

1 C fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries

1 C fresh or frozen (thawed) blackberries

1 (12 ounces) block silken soft tofu

2 T sugar

2 T honey

2 T cornstarch

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t salt

2 t orange zest

1/2 t almond extract (optional)

dark chocolate, grated (optional)

Combine the berries, tofu, sugar, honey, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, orange zest and almond extract in a blender or food processor container and blend until smooth. Pour into a container and chill for at least 2 hours to thicken. Place in serving bowls and garnish with dark chocolate, if desired. Makes four servings.