Why you should add some surf to your turf

FEED ME!

That's what your belly is telling you.

But it's not asking for a cheeseburger. (You can blame your taste buds for that.) It's hungry for BACTERIA.

We've known for quite some time that feeding the colony of good "bugs" in your gut is one of the best things you can do for your health.

But the key isn't just in increasing their sheer NUMBERS -- but also making sure there's plenty of diversity among those belly bugs.

Having lots of different kinds of beneficial gut bacteria can lower your risk of diabetes... protect you from inflammatory bowel diseases... and even make it less likely you'll become obese.

And according to a new study, there's a natural and tasty way to increase both the number AND variety of these helpful critters in your gut -- all you have to do is eat more fish!

Well, as long as it's the right type of fish.

In the study out of the UK, researchers tested the gut bacteria and omega-3 blood levels of older women and gathered information on their dietary intake of omega-3s.

Now, if you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you already know that omega-3s are essential fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel that can benefit your heart, your brain, and much more.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that the women who got the MOST omega-3s in their diet -- and likewise had the highest blood levels of it -- also had a more diverse set of bacteria in their guts than the women who got the LEAST.

Not only that, but the women with top levels of these fatty acids also had higher numbers of certain BENEFICIAL strains of gut bacteria -- the very same ones that have been linked to lower inflammation and lower risk of obesity.

The study also found that high omega-3 intake was associated with higher levels of a compound in the gut called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG), which studies have shown can reduce oxidative stress.

And that's important -- because oxidative stress plays a role in everything from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer to heart disease.

So, if you want to feed your gut the most helpful bacteria in the greatest numbers, make sure you're getting enough omega-3s in your diet.

If you're not a fan of those fatty varieties of fish, you can boost your levels by taking fish oil supplements. Just make sure they've got plenty of both EPA and DHA, as not all fish oils were created equal.

Fish oil isn't for everybody. It can be tough to stomach for some people, and it acts as a blood thinner. In that case, I recommend supplementing with flaxseed and/or flaxseed oil.