The research has shown that our gut microbiota– which are the resident microorganisms that are in the gastrointestinal tract, play an essential role in human health and disease.
These good microorganisms or ‘bugs’ in our gut play a vital role in the digestion, immunity, detoxification and vitamin production in the human body. On top of this, an unfavourable microbiome has been linked to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, various forms of cancer, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and depression. Because of this, it’s important that we keep our gut microbiome healthy, happy and thriving. And one of the most effective ways do this, is through our diet.
Diet and gut microbiota
We all know that plant foods such as vegetables, wholegrains and legumes are essentially our guts favourite foods, as they contain various forms of fibre. These being: soluble fibre, insoluble fibre and resistant starch. These different types of fibre, essentially work together to fuel our bugs in the gut, creating a healthy amount of bugs within the microbiota where they can work effectively to do all their important jobs. To read more about fibre click here.
Other than ensuring that we feed our bugs with the right food so they can thrive and complete all their important roles in the body. Another important factor for a healthy gut is microbiome diversity. Which really just means different types of bugs in the gut.
Numerous studies have showed that healthy individuals have a more diverse gut microbiome in comparison to an unhealthy individuals. Where a reduced diversity, reduces your immune system and is associated with a number of chronic diseases.
How can we achieve microbiota diversity?
What the research is pointing out is that a diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a more diverse gut microbiome. Especially an increased amount of butyrate producing bacteria such as Lachnospira (butyrate is a beneficial short chain fatty acid associated with many health benefits as it has a star role in gut cell health). Other than this new research
This area of research is still early stages, with human trials only just starting to be conducted. There is so much more we need to know. Such as: how much omega 3 is required to have these benefits? Is food rich in omega 3 better than supplementation? The list goes on!
However… We do know that these long chain omega-3 fatty acids are good for us, as there has been so much valid and reliable evidence showing that omega-3 has a protective role in many chronic diseases. Such as omega-3’s improving numerous heart disease risk factors, can help fight inflammation and may help prevent and treat depression.
Where can you find these long chain omega 3’s?
The highest sources of omega 3 is found in oily fish. Fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna and rainbow trout are all great sources.
Generally, the recommendations are around 2 pieces of oily fish per week. Are you meeting that? Why not try this salmon risotto with fennel and carrot recipe this week to increase your omega 3 intake.
If you are vegetarian, vegan or just don’t eat fish – have no fear, there are non–animal based sources. Such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnut, hemp seeds, micro algae etc. Now, although they’re not as high in omega 3 in comparison to oily fish sources. They are still better than not having any at all. Click here to try out this delicious chia pudding recipe that can be had for breakfast or just a snack.
What does this all mean?
All in all, as previous mentioned there is still research needed. However, we do know that omega-3 is not harmful and is a nutrient that have been shown on many occasions to be associated with various health outcomes.
So why not try to increase your omega 3 intake starting today
By Renee Borg, find me on instagram
imaged sourced pinterest