Got a gut feeling

| Post published on August 29, 2019
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How vegetarian and vegan diets affect your gut microbiota

Gut microbiota, previously called gut flora, is the name given to the trillions of microorganisms living in your gut. They can have a profound effect on your overall health – for better or worse.

The difference in gut microbiota between vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters is well documented, with plant-based diets promoting a significantly more healthy population of gut bacteria.

Fibre is one of the main contributors in a vegan diet and it helps to increase beneficial lactic acid bacteria and reduce harmful Clostridium and Enterococcus species. It also encourages the growth of bacteria that break down fibre into compounds that help our immune system, provide energy and regulate some critical functions in the body. Polyphenols, also abundant in plant foods, increase bacteria which combat unhealthy bugs, have anti-inflammatory effects and have even been shown to protect heart health.

Research shows that plant-based diets are effective in promoting a diverse ecosystem of beneficial bacteria to support both your gut microbiome and your overall health.

Tomova A et al., 2019. The Effects of Vegetarian and Vegan Diets on Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in Nutrition. 6, 47.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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