Meatless Mondays are Good for Your Gut
Here’s a great way to start the week off right: Add more veggies to your diet. Vegetables provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are great for helping to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. That’s why I love the concept of Meatless Mondays. It’s an easy way to add more veggies to your diet — simply eat tasty, vegetarian meals at least one day per week. As I mentioned, a vegetarian diet has long been shown to be beneficial in a number of health conditions, and now a new study just released adds “improving gastrointestinal health” to the list of benefits.
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published results that show that a fiber-rich, vegetarian diet leads to better gastrointestinal bacteria in the gut. A diet rich in high fiber content — 100% whole grains, fruits and vegetables — prevents harmful bacteria, such as E. Coli and Enterobacteriacea, from growing and causing health problems such as blockages and intestinal infections.
The researchers compared the diets of vegetarians and vegans with people consuming a normal diet. They looked at cultures of bacteria from both groups and found no differences in total bacterial count. However, the cultures from the vegetarians had much lower counts of some of the more harmful bacteria. Vegetarian diets tend to be more acidic than diets higher in meats and cheeses, which are more basic, and bacteria do not grow well in acidic environments. Eating a diet high in vegetables makes it difficult for those bad bacteria to stick around the intestinal tract and cause damage.
So the next time you think about eating that supersized burger or steak, you might want to consider switching to a veggie or black bean burger. Your tummy will thank you.
Submitted by Rachel Noirot, RPS Dietician