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Your gut’s favourite foods

We all have favourite foods, and the microbes that live in our guts are no exception.

Researchers fed different diets to mice to find out which types and components of dietary fibre encouraged healthy gut microbiomes.

"Fibre is understood to be beneficial. But fibre is actually a very complicated mixture of many different components," says senior author Jeffrey Gordon, a microbiologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "Moreover, fibres from different plant sources that are processed in different ways during food manufacturing have different constituents.”

Gordon and his researchers looked at 34 different food-grade fibre preparations. These were sourced from food manufacturing processes and included byproducts such as fruit peels that are often discarded.

By analysing the response of gut bacteria in mice fed particular types of fibre, the researchers were able to identify the sources of fibre that most encouraged microbe growth and metabolic activity.

The research further illustrates the importance of the role played by our gut microbiomes and could lead to better sources of dietary fibre in future.

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