More gut health news. This time, focusing on older people. An NPR story highlights a study in the journal Nature, which measured the healthy bacteria in the digestive system of 178 older people. The sample was divided into people living independently and those living in care facilities. The independent living people tended to prepare a variety of foods at home, including healthier foods and ingredients, than the nursing home group, which ate a diet heavy in starches, sugar and empty carbs.
The results: A greater diversity of beneficial gut flora–the “good” bacteria” that drive immune function — among the independent elderly. Also, that same group scored better in tests of frailty and cognitive function, compared to the poorer-diet group.
The story sums up the growing research on gut health: “What we’re only now beginning to realize is that there’s very close interaction between the bacteria within GI tract and human health and disease,” says Ilseung Cho, a gastroenterologist at NYU School of Medicine.”
There’s a whole new meaning emerging of the question: “Do you have the guts?”