How does our food affect our health? Two very different experiments tried to answer this question. One looked at probiotic and prebiotic food, while the other turned the clock back thousands of years to see what would happen if we ate like our ancestors.
The Evo Diet - The 9 participants ate a diet based on our ape ancestors for 12 days. The diet came to about 2500 calories, but was comprised almost entirely of raw fruit and vegetables. At the end of it, they had an average reduction in cholesterol levels of 23% - this is staggering in such a short period of time. They also lost an average of 10 lbs, and saw other key health indicators such as insulin levels and blood sodium levels fall.
The learning from this? Ditching the processed food and focusing on fresh, natural ingredients will improve your health and help you to lose weight. It's not rocket science, but it's something many people ignore, to their cost.
Pro-biotic vs. prebiotic food: Prebiotic food encourages the body to produce more 'healthy' bacteria in the gut, increasing resistance to illness, while probiotic foods literally add more good bacteria. They found that the subjects who ate a diet rich in probiotic food (in particular onions, garlic, bananas, dandelion greens, beans) had a much greater rise in healthy bacteria than those who consumed pre-biotic yogurt.
One reason for this is that many so-called pre-biotic foods have very small amounts of the good bacteria, little of which survives the stomach to reach the gut. Probiotic food, however, encourages the body to produce its own healthy bacteria.