While a lot of research has been done on how carbohydrates, fibers, and proteins impact the gut microbiome, this review focused exclusively on antioxidants—which are comparatively understudied in the gut space.
For this review, researchers based primarily in Asia and the U.K. combed through existing research to make a more definitive statement about the impact of antioxidants on the gut microbiome.
Antioxidants, the authors write, essentially “scavenge free radicals” in the body. If we have too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants, it leads to oxidative stress—a condition that is detrimental for our skin, cognition, and—you guessed it—our gut. “Many studies report that prolonged exposure to reactive oxygen species (ROS) can result in microbial dysbiosis2,” the study reads, and this dysbiosis (essentially, an imbalance between good bacteria and bad bacteria) can contribute to a whole host of GI issues, as well as chronic fatigue, inflammation, food intolerances, and even diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
This means that increasing your antioxidant intake is a solid strategy for keeping oxidative stress down, and gut health up.