If you aren’t already eating foods that can improve the health of your gut, then you may want to start. That’s because a new study has found a link between gut health and Alzheimer’s Disease.
In research done by Edith Cowan University that was published in Communications Biology, results from multiple studies focused on gut disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease involved around 400,000 participants each. The findings from the ECU study that looked at the overall data showed that people with gut-related issues also face an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
“These findings are really cool and leave me wanting more,” Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD, tells Eat This, Not That! Sauceda also notes, “To me, the study’s big takeaway is the importance of a gut-healthy diet even if we aren’t fully aware of the connections between the gut and Alzheimer’s.”
Sauceda explains that “it’s too early to say that good gut health can prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, but we can say that focusing on your gut can have a wide variety of benefits.” However, Sauceda adds, “I particularly love that this study emphasizes the importance of diet when it comes to healthy cholesterol/lipids and its role with Alzheimer’s. There’s a common thread with good gut health and healthy cholesterol, and that’s fiber. This means that you can double your efforts by focusing on eating fiber-rich foods.”
If you want to adopt a gut-healthy diet, Sauceda says that “baby steps make a big difference and are better for your gut than making big changes. Your gut likes consistency, if you change things up fast it’ll throw it for a loop,” she explains. On the other hand, “small changes build momentum and give your gut more time to acclimate.”
To start, Sauceda suggests “fiber and variety,” saying, “The majority of people are lacking fiber and your gut microbiome thrives on fiber because it feeds it gut bacteria. Focusing on prebiotic foods can be especially helpful because they have been shown to give us a health benefit. Oats, asparagus, and onions are just a few prebiotic foods.”
As for variety, Sauceda says The American Gut Project has linked variety to “a more diverse gut microbiome.” That’s why you may want to “try picking up a new fruit or veggie or adding a new herb to your pantry.”
Finally, Sauceda tells Eat This, Not That!, “There’s no such thing as a perfect gut or one perfect way to eat for your gut. No one will have the same digestion or gut microbiome therefore your gut-friendly foods are unique to you. Listen to your gut and eat foods that feel nourishing to your body and mind.”