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   Jul 07

Hunter-gatherer style diets of seasonal vegetables and wild game replenish gut bacteria and stave off diabetes and asthma, leading professor claims

Professor Tim Spector claims the traditional diet can help to ‘rewild’ gut bacteria

Having more species of bacteria in the gut can reduce the risk of many diseases

Professor Spector spent three days eating traditional food with a Tanzanian tribe

Tribes people eat seasonal fruit and vegetables, and hunt wild game and birds

He discovered that The Hadza tribe have some of the healthiest guts in the world

Sticking to a hunter-gatherer style diet of seasonal vegetables and wild game can do wonders for your health, a leading professor claims.

A diet of wild tubers and porcupine steak helps to replenish our gut bacteria, which in turns staves off diabetes and asthma, he says.

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, has called for westerners to adopt a more traditional diet after spending three days eating with tribes people in Tanzania.

The indigenous group, known as The Hadza, live in the Savannah, foraging for vegetables and hunting game.

Professor Spector discovered that the tribe have some of the healthiest guts in the world as their diets enable them to grow a diverse range of digestive bacteria.


The human gut has more bacteria than any other part of the body, both in number and diversity.

There are four major types of gut bacteria: Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria.

Firmicutes play a role in energy re-absorption, and may be linked to diabetes and obesity.

Bacteroidetes account for 30 per cent of all gut bacteria, and are important in our ability to digest and use energy from carbohydrates and sugars.

Acinobacteria produce bioactive metabolites, which we use in medicines such as antibacterials.

Proteobacteria are a category of bacteria that include diseases like chlamydia, but exist in healthy guts.

‘The Hadza have the healthiest guts in the world in terms of diversity,’ Professor Spector, who is the author of the book The Diet Myth, told the Times.

‘They live as we would have done, in the same spot eating the same food.’

What does a hunter-gatherer diet consist of?

Professor Spector spent three days eating the same food as The Hadza and said he was surprised by the immediate health benefits.

He lived on an exotic diet including the fruit of the baobab tree, which is crushed and filtered to make a citrus-flavoured milkshake.

Another staple of the diet is wild tubers, which taste similar to a turnip and celery, according to the professor.

And for main course, Professor Spector dined on fresh porcupine meat, which tastes similar to any other barbecued meat, he said.

How to make: Grilled Corn

The foods help to promote a more diverse microbiome, which can help to reduce the risk of ‘almost every western ailment’, according to Professor Spector.

Professor Spector analysed his stool samples after spending three days eating The Hadza diet.

He found that sticking to a prehistoric diet allowed him to gain 20 per cent more types of microbe in his gut.

Professor Spector also discovered that members of the Hadza have an average of 40 per cent more gut bacteria species than the average westerner.

What we can learn?

For hose not keen on eating porcupine, Professor Spector advises we get some of the health benefits of the prehistoric diet by being less stringent about food sterilisation.

The Hadza don’t use disinfectants or sterilisation equipment and so are more exposed to potentially beneficial bacteria, he said.

He added that westerners who frequently garden and are exposed to more bugs tend to have more diverse gut bacteria.

‘Maybe we should occasionally go back to our roots – re-wild ourselves, go camping with the kids and get dirty,’ he said.

Source: Daily Mail

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