In your stomach as in life, diversity is a good thing. Microbial diversity.

According to a study published in the journal Science, coffee is one of 60 dietary factors (126 in total) that affect the body’s microbial diversity; wine and tea also have positive effects, which is great news. Sugary drinks, whole milk, and eating lots of carbs also affect microbial diversity, but unfortunately in a negative way.

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And while the idea of things that aren’t me living inside of me gives me the heebie-jeebies, turns out it’s a good thing. The bacteria, fungi, and viruses comprising a person’s microbiome aid in the processing of food and in regulating the immune system. The Seattle Times also notes that the microbiome can be a factor in mood disorders, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and other diseases. Basically, you need these little microscopic creepy-crawlies to take some of the stress of keeping you alive and healthy off of your body. They’re your bowels’ back bar.

Studying microbial diversity is a fairly new field so there is no real established definition for what a “healthy gut” should look like (other than sweet abs, of course). But this study shows a correlation between microbial diversity and health, and coffee promotes diversity, which is good enough for me.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

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