Are you alarmed by an expanding waistline? Maybe that bacteria in your gut is the real culprit for your weight gain. Nine hundred Dutch adults, participating in a recent study, found that “gut bugs” affect body fat levels. Also, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides appear to be impacted as well.

Researcher Jingyuan Fu, an associate professor of genetics at University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands, found evidence to support the idea that these ”bugs,” or intestinal microbiome, play an important role in our health and well-being.

Microbiome is the trillions of bacteria that naturally live in our gut. Apart from good digestion, they help everything from immune function to metabolization of medicine, provide nutrients, support anti-inflammatory compounds and supply chemicals that send messages to the brain.

The study shows that too much similarity in the microbiome creates a variety of health problems, especially in the areas of obesity, asthma, and diabetes. More importantly, the recent study now contributes information regarding our gut microbiome and healthiest bacteria levels, as related to the heart.

Much of our bacteria insufficiency seems to be correlated to the modern diet and lifestyle of the average American, whose gut microbiome seems to be increasingly less diverse, and contributing to higher disease risks. Also, a less diverse microbiome appears to be related to the increase in C-section births and the lack of breastfeeding early in life. C-sections reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria to babies and breast milk helps feed the healthy bacteria. Following this, a diet filled with processed foods serves to compound the problem. Study in this area is still early in the scheme of things, but researchers are encouraged to know that gut microbiome can be changed through diet, unlike age, genes and other heart disease factors.

In the meantime, it’s best to support cardiovascular health with methods we know are vital, such as a diet of whole, nutrient-rich, colorful fruits and vegetables. Fish and fiber-filled grains are also very beneficial.

Read the full article here: Gut Bugs May Affect Body Fat, ‘Good’ Cholesterol