How to build on ‘you are what you eat’

Scientists know there is a relationship between nutrition and the microbiota, and that microbiota composition affects health, either positively or negatively.

Researchers are seeking ways to identify the mechanisms at work to better understand these links and develop new ways to approach disease management. Gut microbiata may be the key to developing personalized or precision medicine.

In the meantime, the food industry—and produce suppliers and marketers in particular—have much to gain by connecting fruits and vegetables with gut health and healthy living.

“The story of produce and digestive health should be celebrated,” said Kelly Atyeo-Fick, president of LiveWell Marketing in Mississauga, Ontario. “The produce industry and retailers should continue to focus on consumer education. Building produce marketing campaigns that focus on gut health is a huge area of opportunity that has not been fully explored.”

Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Ciruli Brothers, LLC in Nogales, AZ, also sees continuing education programs for produce managers and outreach to retail dietitians as important in promoting the value of fresh produce on gut health.

To him, the overarching message is simple: You truly are what you eat.

This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.