Business magnate Richard Branson has said, "I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics."
We're not sure that's a good idea when you're heading to space, but it turns out your gut's instincts are worth paying attention to.
You may think that heart woes come directly from eating red and processed meats that contain saturated fats which head straight to your arteries, plugging them up with dense cholesterol. But the process is more complicated than that.
According to new research published in the journal Science, a major way you damage your heart health is by first damaging your intestines. All that fat actually changes the way the trillions of microbes in your gut biome talk to the cells in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract.
The researchers at Vanderbilt University found that a high-fat diet makes cells in the lining of your gut produce more nitrate and oxygen. That, in turn, stimulates the growth of potentially harmful gut bacteria like E. coli, and boosts production of TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide), which passes into your bloodstream and inflames the walls of your blood vessels.
TMAO also keeps HDL cholesterol from transporting LDL cholesterol and other lipids out of the body. That cascade of events then causes arthrosclerosis and raises your risk of death from a lot of causes.
Want to dodge all that? Eliminate red and processed meats, ditch foods with added sugar or syrup, and eat a plant-based diet.
Your gut will thank you — so will your heart, brain, immune system, and other organs.