Mediterranean diet is often viewed in the context of impact on composition of gut microbiota and its consequences on prevention and treatment of various diseases. It is known how complex carbohydrates present in this type of dietary pattern are fermented by healthy gut microbiota, producing in turn short-chained fatty acids with purported benefits for human health, whereas other mechanisms and interactions play a role as well.
Recent research endeavors take a step further and demonstrate how exactly Mediterranean diet can affect the composition, activity, and diversity of intestinal microorganisms and their metabolomic profiles, and how these alterations can be linked to various chronic diseases. A change in the ratio of two dominant gut phyla (Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes) represents a hallmark feature of many diseases, which can be influenced by introducing dietary modifications. In addition, gut microbiota composition as a whole may serve as a marker of Mediterranean diet adherence.
Increasing our knowledge and awareness of diet–microbiota interdependence may result in specific and targeted dietary approaches for microbial modulation and subsequent disease risk reduction, with Mediterranean diet serving as a blueprint for healthy eating.
aUniversity Hospital Centre Zagreb, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology & Unit of Clinical Nutrition
bUniversity of Zagreb School of Medicine
cClinical Microbiology and Parasitology Unit, Polyclinic ‘Dr. Zora Profozic’, Zagreb, Croatia
Correspondence to Željko Krznarić, PhD, MD, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology & Unit of Clinical Nutrition, Kišpatićeva 12, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia. E-mail: Zeljko.firstname.lastname@example.org