The human gut microbiome continually changes as the balance between beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria shifts. An overgrowth of harmful bacteria can lead to a variety of illnesses, allergies, and a weakened immune system. A balanced gut can improve digestion, mental health, immune function, cholesterol levels, and more.
A recent study that compared vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore diets showed that vegans generally had not only the healthiest diets but also the healthiest guts. (Go vegans!). This is probably because vegans tend to eat more raw or high-fiber food such as legumes, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Since fiber is crucial to gut health, a vegan diet with plenty of fiber creates a healthier gut.
Is Eating Meat Bad for Your Gut?
In general, eating meat is linked to an imbalanced gut. Harmful bacteria also thrive in our gut when we consume food that is processed, moldy, or heavily coated with pesticides. These foods promote the growth of harmful bacteria and throw the gut balance out of whack. Not to mention, following a carnivore diet might not be the best for your gut.
The Vegan Gut Microbiome May Be Linked to Better General Health
There are several possible reasons why vegans and vegetarians often have healthier guts than meat-eaters. However, the definitive cause is not yet known. More research is needed, but the connection is clear. By looking at what we know about gut health and healthy diets, we can theorize why these diets may be responsible for a healthier gut.
The amount of high-fiber food in the vegan diet is most likely a big part of why vegans’ guts are healthier. Another factor to keep in mind is that vegans are often healthier overall. Deciding to cut animal products out of your diet doesn’t occur in isolation.
Vegans generally exercise more and frequently don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol. They make more thoughtful choices about their diet, are often less stressed, and usually don’t eat highly processed food. All of these habits lead to better gut health that is underscored by eating more fiber and raw produce.
Healthy Gut Leads to Better Health Overall
Whether you are an omnivore or a vegan, how the gut microbiome works is one of the most fascinating aspects of our bodies. Each of us is much more than human cells. We are walking ecosystems.
Because our gut contains beneficial and harmful microbes, maintaining a balance between them is essential. This plays a crucial role in health and disease. An unbalanced gut can lead to bloating, weight gain, and digestive issues, as well as a plethora of ill effects.
A Note from GR8NESS
Nutrition experts aren’t surprised by the results of this research. The effects of a vegan diet on gut health is not surprising to many nutritionists. And while they may not advise their clients to go completely vegan, they do recommend shifting toward a healthy, more plant-based diet. Following this type of eating plan may help in the prevention and treatment of many diseases.