We know that healthy microbes are present in yogurt and other fermented foods, but research is showing that these friendly bacteria are actually present all throughout healthy diets. Researchers at the University of California, Davis measured the microbes in meals from three common diets: the standard American diet (consisting of fast food and convenience foods, and no whole grains), a vegan diet (which included oatmeal and peanut butter, a vegetable and tofu soup with soba noodles, and a Portobello burger on a whole wheat bun), and a healthy diet based on the USDA dietary guidelines (which included whole grain cereal with fruit and yogurt, a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, and a quinoa, chicken, and vegetable dinner). Researchers found that the microbe level in both whole grain diets outnumbered that of the standard American diet lacking in whole grains. The USDA diet had 1.3 billion microbes per day, the vegan diet had 6 million microbes per day, and the standard American diet had only 1.4 million microbes per day. While it’s unclear whether the beneﬁt can be traced directly to whole grains or to a combination of interacting factors, this study points to the overall beneﬁts of a healthy diet including whole grains.
PeerJ. 2014 Dec 9. (Lang J M et al.)