It's time to mix up your menu.

By Kelly Bryant
Updated August 04, 2015
Get the recipe.
Jens Mortensen

This article originally appeared on MIMI.

As humans we're creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to our eating patterns. Sometimes it's just easier to eat to go on auto pilot when we're cooking or ordering a meal. You're hungry and you know what you like, so what's the harm in eating grilled chicken or your standard salad day in and day out?

According to research shared at the Institute of Food Technologists' meeting…there could be a lot.

"Each type of food and micronutrient seems to have a [bacterial] specialist that can utilize it. So maybe the best diet has a little bit of everything," says Mark Heiman, vice president and chief scientific officer at Microbiome Therapeutics, in an interview with Eat Clean.

Basically what this means is that when we eat a variety of different foods (and not the same turkey sandwich every. single. day.) we're promoting bacterial diversity in our gut. It's not the most glamorous term, but it's an important factor in keeping our body well and could also be imperative to maintaining a healthy weight.

"If you don't eat any carbs, the bacteria that specialize in using carbs will be at a disadvantage, while the guys who specialize in using protein will become more abundant, so your [microbial] ecosystem becomes less diverse," explains Heiman.

So while no one is encouraging you to go to town on a giant bowl of pasta, keeping those carb resources in your diet in healthy amounts are important, as is giving your body a range of different foods to enjoy.