The pretty peony shows promise in reversing the adverse effects of a high-fat diet

Peonies are often given to couples celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary. The flower, with its vibrant hues and gorgeous, lush petals, are symbolic of many beautiful things, not the least of which are gentle romance and a blissful marriage. Now, the state flower of Indiana is being validated as a powerful natural medicine against the adverse effects of a high-fat diet.

Research has shown that a high-fat diet has a direct and significant impact on intestinal microbiota. People who regularly eat foods rich in bad fats and maintain a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk of obesity and obesity-related metabolic disorders. Nutritionists hypothesize that high-fat foods increase the level of inflammation in the gut, in turn destroying the internal balance one needs to have a healthy immune system. People with a higher level of inflammation in their gut are observed to have a greater likelihood of developing various metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.

Modern medicine focuses on treating conditions as they develop, rather than promoting a preventive strategy. This is where natural medicine trumps synthetic treatment, as folk healers take a more holistic view on health.

Such is the case with this study published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. Here, researchers sought to look at the potential two species of peonies may have in reversing the effects of a high-fat diet, particularly in decreasing the risk of a metabolic disorder caused by a gut inflammation.

The root barks of moutain peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) and roots of Veitch’s peony (Paeonia veitchii) were used. Researchers administered either peony or a combination of both to mice with diet-induced obesity for six weeks. The mice were tested for their insulin sensitivity and the composition of their gut microbiota using various scientific measurements.

Results showed that while either peony displayed powerful protective effects, it was a combination of both that proved to be the most effective at keeping gut microbiota homeostasis. It was further noted that the peony combination exhibited a therapeutic effect similar to Metformin, a first-line medication for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

It was concluded that peonies are a safe and natural way to prevent metabolic disorders caused by a high-fat diet.

Reset your gut

It can be argued that a lot of illnesses can be prevented by just taking care of your gut. Gut bacteria help synthesize the nutrition from your food, basically being directly responsible for how much your body is able to absorb all the necessary nutrients from your diet. A sub-par gut bacteria profile, then, can mean that your body is not getting the nutrition it needs.

Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to reset your gut and optimize your nutrient absorption. These include:

  • Probiotics — You need bacteria in your body — the good kind, that is. Probiotics are the most important aspect of a healthy gut. Load up on the many foods rich in them, including kimchi, sauerkraut, and organic, plain yogurt. (Related: Good gut health: Probiotic use during pregnancy helps both mom and baby avoid obesity.)
  • Intermittent fasting — Carefully planning a time when you are not eating can actually increase the diversity of your gut bacteria. This helps prevents inflammation, a major contributor to many diseases.
  • Breathing — When your body is stuck in its “fight or flight” mode caused by stress, gut bacteria balance goes out of whack. Your body slows down or stops certain functions that it feels are not essential to your immediate survival. This includes digestion. Learn how to manage stress properly.
  • Being a smart consumer — So many aspects of our modern lifestyle deplete the good bacteria in our gut. From antibacterial cleaners to toxic products, it pays to know what exactly is entering or surrounding your body. Be careful of overusing or abusing antibiotics, for example, as these medicines wipe out both the bad and good bacteria in your body.

Read more articles on other natural ways to improve your gut health at

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