Consider this. Right now you are walking around with roughly 100 trillion gut bacteria that equates to 3-5 lbs, and thousand different strains that are vying for dominance. If the healthy bacteria win, you are in luck. Our gut, and the balance of the bacteria within the gut, are responsible for our optimal health, mental health, and our weight.
Science shows that gut bacteria does, in fact, influence our weight. Research has revealed that obese people have a less diverse balance of microbes than lean folks. This drives weight gain, inflammation, and the consequences of both.
The Importance Of A Good Gut
The importance of our gut goes beyond just weight.
- Our gut houses 70% of our immune system, our mental health is affected as well.
- 90% of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is made, not in the brain, but in the gut itself.
- We have 500 million brain cells in the lining of our gut; our gut is considered our ‘second brain’, and our weight is directly impacted by our microflora.
So you can sense, how crucial it is to ensure we create and maintain a healthy microbiome.
What we know so far is that people who put on the most weight lack specific (or have them at extremely low levels) species of bacteria in their digestive tract, as opposed to lean individuals.
The good news is that we can begin to take control of our weight by feeding our microbiome with the right foods. Essentially, what we eat determines the type of bacteria we grow in our gut garden. The healthier the balance of the gut bacteria, by correcting the imbalance or overgrowth of unhealthy gut bacteria, the faster you will lose weight and create optimal health.
Top 5 Tips To Gain A Healthy Gut And Slim Down
Create The Foundation
A healthy gut has two basic ‘musts’ – prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are plant-fiber compounds, and what I refer to as fertilizer for the healthy bacteria. They feed these important microbes to help facilitate optimal health, and weight loss.
Probiotics have the same end-result, but instead of feeding the bacteria, they are the good healthy bacteria that get planted within the gut. You can find these probiotics from delicious cultured and fermented foods. When prebiotics and probiotics are combined, they create a powerful, healthful effect.
Add Cultured And Fermented Foods
Cultured and fermented foods directly deliver live and active flora, to rapidly change your gut health within days. Research shows, just 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut can change your gut health within 3 days.
Examples of these foods are: yogurt (without sugar as sugar feeds unhealthy bacteria), the tangy drink kefir, coconut kefir, kvass, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, green olives, and raw cheese.
Feed The Healthy Microflora
Prebiotic foods contain a type of non-digestible fiber compound called “oligosaccharides.” Just like other prebiotic compounds, including the kind found in foods like garlic, beans, bananas, artichokes, jicama, dandelion greens, asparagus, garlic, and onions – pass through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, and remain undigested.
Once they pass through the small intestine, they reach the colon, where they are an essential food for the growth of healthy bugs.
Kick Refined Foods To The Curb
Refined foods such as sugar, white flour or white rice, feed the unhealthy microflora. Unhealthy bacteria thrive, and survive on these foods that have been stripped of their fiber – remember fiber feeds the healthy bacteria.
Unhealthy gut bacteria unleash those cravings you may have for donuts or chips. These bacteria send chemical messages to the brain that have a powerful effect upon our food choices, and our mood – even at the expense of the individual.
On the other hand, eating foods that have not been refined or processed, stop the unhealthy food cravings, and have a positive mood impact.
Add A Probiotic
Groundbreaking research in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported that overweight women consuming daily probiotics lost twice as much weight than women taking placebo pills.
According to Angelo Tremblay, who headed this study, “Probiotics may act by altering the permeability of the intestinal wall. By keeping certain proinflammatory molecules from entering the bloodstream, they might help preventing the chain reaction that leads to glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.”
With so many different types of probiotic strains and different brands, it may be hard to determine which is best for you. Two key fundamental strains to look for at the very least are, Lactobaccilus, and Bifidobacterium strains.
Ensure that your daily supplement is at least 30 billion – 50 billion units per capsule (it sounds like a lot but is not) and multi-strained. Take the probiotic on an empty stomach, and without chlorinated water, as chlorine kills bacteria – including healthy bacteria.
Begin now by paying attention to your diet, adding high fiber foods, healthy fats, eliminating added sugar, and supplementing with a high quality multi-strain probiotic. Remember, nutrition is 80% of your weight loss success. In doing this, you will help create weight loss, and optimal health.