The human body contains an astonishing hundred trillion bacterial cells. While these bacteria are present on all surfaces of the body, the majority are found in the gastrointestinal tract. Gut bacteria – also known as the gut microbiome, microbiota, or microflora – play an important role in many areas of human health, including food digestion, immunity, and the regulation of brain function (known as the “gut-brain axis”).
One area of interest is how our diet can affect the microbiome and our overall health. Researchers have looked into how different nutrients in food, like protein, carbohydrates, and fats, can change the composition of the microbiome and the substances it produces. As part of ongoing research to better understand how diet can influence the microbiome and ultimately impact our health, some researchers are focusing on the effects of specific foods, such as grapes.
Previous epidemiological research has shown that grape consumption supports heart health, and some show improvements in memory. Animal studies have shown that it protects healthy colon tissue from cancer, and protects the retina in the eye from damage caused by a toxin. A small-scale study on humans taking grape powder showed a reduction in markers of inflammation.
Excerpted from Medical News Today