The benefits of fiber and its importance for human health were emphasized on this webinar. Fiber amounts ideally would be upwards of 70 grams a day following a plant based diet. Minimum daily requirements that are recommended for men are 40 grams and 30 grams for women. Fiber adds bulking to stool reducing constipation and lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Viscosity slows gastric emptying and decreases the absorption of cholesterol as well as estrogen (and improves the balance of estrogen/progesterone) and decreases the absorption of glucose. Fiber helps bind bile acids and increases feelings of satiety.
Fermentation of fiber increases short chain fatty acids which are tremendously beneficial to our health. The SCFA such as butyrate, proprionate, and acetate feed back to inhibit NF Kapha-beta and provide energy for colonocytes. They also promote weight loss by influencing adipogenesis, enhance mineral absorption, decrease systemic inflammation, and improve T-regulatory cell production which helps keep the immune system in balance. Whole food plant based diets increase the diversity of the microbiome, increase the growth of short chain fatty acids, and increase polyphenols, which in turn, increase Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus colonization.
Plant protein decreases pathogenic bacteria and improves the balance of Bacteriodes/Firmicutes ratio. Animal protein increases Bacteriodes species and leads to more IBS and IBD. A diet high in plants increases the gut barrier and help reduce leaky gut. It also improves the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat benefits. Food preservatives and artificial sweeteners negatively impact the microbiome as do pharmaceutical medications. Antibodies given to a baby can negatively affect the baby for up to a year.
Exercise improves the health of the microbiome. It increases new cell growth and decreases cortisol (the major hormone associated with stress). Exercising outdoors introduces more variety to your microbiome.
Following a Mediterranean diet decreased the risk of cognitive impairment. The risk of cognitive decline is 38% lower in those who eat higher vegetables in the age of 65 and older. A healthy prudent diet of fresh vegetables, salad, fruit and fish was associated with a 47.5 mm larger hippocampal volume. A higher intake of legumes was associated with larger parietal and occipital cortical thickness.
A lower intake of whole grains was associated with higher inflammation markers such as IL-6 and accelerated cognitive decline. Cognitive function was negatively associated with saturated fats, omega 6 fats, and homocysteine but positively associated with intake of omega 3 fatty acids. In ages of 65 and up, consuming saturated fats and transfats more than doubled the risk of cognitive decline.
Brain healthy food includes green leafy vegetables, raw nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, wild seafood, poultry, olive oil and red wine. Ideally plant based food, exercise, cardiovascular risk management, brain challenging activity, meditation. 5 fruits, 5 vegetables, whole grains, lowest amount of salt, monounsaturated fats and olive oil. Strive to eat a wide variety of foods to positively influence your microbiome
Reference: Webinar on the Microbiome Asean Region Whole Food Plant Based Educational Webinar- Dr. Scott Stoll