Study links gut health with healthy hearts
They say the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, but the findings of a new study by the University of Nottingham have shown that there might actually be some truth in this. The study, published in the European Heart Journal, has shown that women with healthy guts and microbiomes could have a lower risk of heart disease. This is exciting news, as while there is little we can do about genetic risks for heart disease, we can help change and control the microbes in our gut (and the helpful substances they produce) by adding certain foods to our diet.
One indication of heart attack or stroke risk is ‘arterial stiffness’ – how hard a person’s arteries are. Several clinical studies have now found that arterial stiffness is closely related to inflammation, which can increase our chances of heart disease if abnormally high, but now we know that one way to reduce inflammation is to improve our good gut bacteria.
The latest study found that almost 10% of arterial hardening could be explained by gut microbial activity (or to be more precise, a lack of beneficial gut microbial activity), whereas cholesterol levels, smoking, and diabetes – the more commonly known factors that we associate with heart disease – accounted for less than 2% of this risk measure.
The study found that women with healthier arteries had greater gut bacteria diversity, whereas those with more arterial stiffness tended to have lower microbial diversity in their gut. Try adding some more Ks (kombucha, kefir, kimchi) to your diet as these can have a positive effect on the diversity of your gut bacteria. Or if you are on the go we like taking this multi-strain formula from Bio-Kult.