Monday, September 20, 2010

The Colonies Inside Us, Allies or Enemies? It's All in What We Eat!

Now there is new, and unexpected, proof--- that eating choices directly affect disease vectors, through organisms living inside your body.

Vonnegut once said that our bodies are cruise ships for bacteria, host to nations of free-loading germs that party on the food we keep feeding them.

Well, we already know that certain types of bacteria are linked to obesity, asthma, ulcers and allergies. And we've wondered just what impact these different bacteria may have on those health issues. Now, a new study proves that this depends on the type of food we eat.

Bacteria don't just freeload. They digest our food and even help us fight some illnesses. But what bacteria? And can we choose which kinds?

The answer is yes. Internal ecosystems of bacteria differ from person to person, because people eat different foods. Diet determines just which bacteria are living in your gut. And that determines the help you get from each type.

For instance, a new study compares Italian children to African children. Italians eat far more processed food: high-sugar, high-fat and low-fiber. Africans consume more fiber with diets richer in plants.

What difference does that make? A very big one, when it comes to the inside of their bodies. And their health.

Dr. Paolo Lionetti, (pediatric gastroenterologist at Meyer Children Hospital at the University of Florence), has found this difference critical in explaining the higher incidence of some diseases in the European kids.

"We live in a clean environment in the Western countries. But we have a lot of allergies and obese children, and inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmunity diseases that we don't have in Africa in this region. So, we have lost healthy bacteria that can protect our guts and our organs from these bad conditions."

Lionetti's study results appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our results suggest that diet has a dominant role over other possible variables such as ethnicity, sanitation, hygiene, geography, and climate, in shaping the gut microbiota."

Garbage in, garbage magnified, the good or the bad.

Your internal bacteria will work for you, or against you. It depends on what you feed them!

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