Here's why, and how you can take advantage of probiotics and fiber to promote not only gut health, but also cardiovascular and respiratory health, too!
Researchers from JAMA Oncology took over a million people (and even better, these people were from not only the U.S., but various parts of Europe and Asia as well). The group of people in the study who ate the most yogurt and fiber saw a 33% decrease in risk of getting lung cancer, versus the group that didn't consume these things.
Now, I do have a couple of questions about how this study could be completely valid. First of all, this type of study, called an "inverse association" study, notices that there is a link between one thing happening, and another thing NOT happening. Like, "you do this, and you PREVENT lung cancer." But studies like that can be a little unreliable, because how can we prove that the thing happening caused the other thing to NOT happen? If you're looking at studies to confirm how to live a healthy life, which I like to do all the time, just know that an association study is a bit easier to prove than an inverse association study, because it's easier to prove that something caused something else to happen…rather than, something caused something else to NOT happen.
Secondly, the researchers didn't have separate groups of people who consumed fiber but not yogurt, or yogurt but not fiber. They just have a group that consumed a lot of both, and this is the group that showed the reduced lung cancer risk. That's great and all, but because these variables aren't isolated, how are we supposed to know whether it's the yogurt that causes the reduction, OR the fiber? OR do you have to have both?
Well, both of them have prebiotics, which are foods that promote good gut health (which include fruits and vegetables, and help probiotics to get good bacteria to grow in the gut!). So you may not have heard of prebiotics vs. Probiotics before, but that's the difference! Since both yogurt and fiber have both of these, and that's probably what is reducing the lung cancer risk, you can probably have either/or, like if yogurt isn't your thing but hopefully you like other high-fiber foods!
Like I said, it's already been established that it's good for your gut, of course, and also your heart, but it's even good for your lungs. This makes sense because a good gut reduces inflammation, which means that you have less risk of a leaky gut, meaning that your intestinal wall is strong and won't let toxins into your bloodstream. Thus, you prevent lung cancer and basically all other diseases too, by keeping that bloodstream clean!
If yogurt or any other fiber source is going to prevent this, then I will follow Jamie Lee Curtis's example and chow down on that yogurt every morning!
If you are not a lover of yogurt, don't despair! Here are a few other foods that you also benefit from getting probiotics from.
The most common are fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics, or have probiotics added to them, including kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses.