Tracing tomatoes’ health benefits to gut microbes: Study

Favourable findings in pigs warrant human studies, researchers say

Two weeks of eating a diet heavy in tomatoes increased the diversity of gut microbes and altered gut bacteria toward a more favorable profile in young pigs, researchers in the US found.

After observing these results with a short-term intervention, the research team plans to progress to similar studies in people, looking for health-related links between tomatoes in the diet and changes to the human gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms living in the gastrointestinal tract.

“It’s possible that tomatoes impart benefits through their modulation of the gut microbiome,” said senior author Jessica Cooperstone, assistant professor of horticulture and crop science and food science and technology at The Ohio State University.

Tomatoes account for about 22% of vegetable intake in Western diets, and previous research has associated consumption of tomatoes with reduced risk for the development of various conditions that include cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Image credit- shutterstock

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