A microbial Christmas

If you are like many of us, you will be now busy thinking what to cook or wondering what you will eat for Christmas dinner. The year 2015 has been the year where food has become not just a tool for survival but a tool for health. Television, newspapers, blogs, and videos are all competing for our attention towards the latest food fad and recipe, not just as a way to impress our friends with our culinary skills, but as a way to improve our health. We now know that saturated fat is not the enemy it was portrayed to be, and the fight against sugar has only just begun. The latest research has shown that what we eat can help us to get fitter, thinner and most important of all healthier and that we do this not by excluding foods and demonising certain groups but by having variety, diversity in our diets and eating as many different foods as possible. We know that this is important because we are not just eating for us, we are eating for the multitude, the trillions of microbes living, multiplying and conversing in our bellies that keep that machine known as our body running effectively and efficiently.

So, when you are now thinking about your Christmas dinner, are you still thinking about yourself or also these little troopers? If you have tested your microbes, do you want to know how to ensure that any future tests show how diverse your microbes can be and be the envy of your neighbours?

Tim Spector, director of British Gut, feels he has a lot to thank his microbes for. After a year where his microbes personally helped his research, he now wants to treat them for Christmas and has been thinking about what an ideal microbial Christmas dinner will be. He has found that while microbes like variety, they will not mind keeping to tradition with a nicely cooked turkey, together with onions, and garlic, and a large dose of high fibre high polyphenol Brussel sprouts. A good dollop of extra virgin olive oil is a must not just for Christmas but with every meal, and say cheers to your microbes with a nice glass of wine, rich in polyphenols, a real treat for them. Finish the meal with a nice cup of coffee with dark chocolate and your microbes will forgive you that extra Christmas pudding serving if helped with some full fat crème fraiche or probiotic yoghurt.

The British Gut team Tim, Victoria, and Shawnelle want to wish you a very happy Christmas and remind you that microbes are not just for Christmas. We will continue to look after these tiny but powerful beings in 2016 by learning more about which are the good, the bad and the ugly. Thank you for your help!