By now, we’ve all heard of the benefits of adding kombucha, kefir, and kimchi into your diet to help maintain a healthy gut flora, but new research is pointing to a hunter-gatherer tribe who may have hacked the greatest secret to gut health.
The Hazda tribe of Tanzania, as it turns out, is here to teach us a thing or two about maintaining our microbiome — the gut bacteria that’s crucial to balancing our digestive and metabolic health and creating a powerful immune system.
According to researchers, the highly-processed Western diet — loaded with sugar, preservatives, and not nearly enough fiber — is to blame for our lacking microbiome, leaving us prone to diseases.
But we still have a chance! The new study shows that the Hazda tribe, whose microbiomes changed over time depending on their diet, ate according to season. When they ate honey and berries, their micribiomes were much more diverse, but when they ate meat, their microbiomes looked an awful lot like ours. Can you spot the secret?
Scientists made it simple: fiber is the key.
“I think this finding is really exciting,” Lawrence David, who studies the microbiome at Duke University, tells NPR. “It suggests the shifts in the microbiome seen in industrialized nations might not be permanent — that they might be reversible by changes in people’s diets.
Yes, gut-healthy foods will always be there to serve you and your gut, but just adding more fiber foods will drastically change your whole health.
And the reason for it is immediate. The microbes in your gut feed on fiber, and need it to survive, duplicate, and keep you safe from inflammation.
But that doesn’t mean we should all ditch our current lifestyles and go full-on hunter-gatherer. Americans average about 15 grams of fiber every day. And just simply adding more fiber foods (like in-season fruits and vegetables, lentils, beans, and peas) will change your microbiome for the better.
In case you needed another excuse to get more avocados, chickpeas, and coconuts into your meals, look no further than this study!