How to Drop Pounds by Transforming Your Gut Bacteria
A 2017 Danish study published in the International Journal of Obesity has found that a portion of bacteria in the gut may play a role in how much weight we lose – and under what conditions. This makes general dietary guidelines far less effective than what most people believe.
Why Is Gut Health So Important?
Today, an increasing number of researchers are primarily focusing on optimal gut health.
To understand the importance of a healthy gut, it helps to consider that there are three pounds of bacteria in your gut of over 500 species. With trillions of bacteria in your gut, your body may contain more than 100 times as many genes from these bacteria as your body. There are 100 times more bacterial DNA in your gut than your own DNA. While you have around 20,000 genes, your gut contains more than 2,000,000 bacterial genes. Let’s let that sink in for a second.
In fact, your body may actually be more bacterial than human.
However, not all of these bacteria are bad. Scientists now refer to your gut as a second brain for a reason. Having a balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is essential as your gut flora is connected to every function in your body. This is why most chronic illnesses originate from the gut.
A growing number of researches show that too many bad bacteria is linked to a plethora of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, depression, autism, heart disease, cancer, eczema, asthma, fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases.
This shows that a healthy gut is more than just protecting yourself from bloating, heartburn or constipation.
As a whole, your gut is a massive organization that digests foods, regulates hormones, derives vitamins from your food, removes toxins, produces compounds that heal your body and keeps your digestive tract healthy.
Proper intestinal health means that your digestion, absorption and assimilation of the nutrition you eat are working in optimum levels. However, this role of your gut also depends on numerous other factors – including the bacteria in your gut. Bad microbes such as harmful bacteria, yeasts and parasites outnumbering the good microbes, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, can cause your gut to not function at its peak potential and may contribute to a host of health issues that build up over time.
How to Optimize Gut Health
Start by working on your diet, which can directly affect the balance in your gut flora. You should consume plenty of prebiotics, a type of dietary fiber that probiotics (the good bacteria in your gut) feed on. Some excellent sources of prebiotics include garlic, onion, asparagus, bananas, leeks and leafy green vegetables. Prebiotics can be paired with foods rich in fiber, high quality protein and healthy fats to improve your gut health.
While looking for fat sources, pay closer attention to foods containing anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Some excellent sources of omega-3 fats include extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, fish and avocados.
Keep away from foods rich in pro-inflammatory, omega-6 fats, such as vegetable oils, as they can increase the growth of bad critters in your gut and cause weight gain and disease. This is mainly because they cause microbes release toxins such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS), an inflammatory compound that triggers inflammation and insulin resistance, causing diabetes, weight gain and obesity.
Note that food isn’t the only way to heal your gut. Plenty of rest and sleep and stress-busting activities are also known to improve a gut imbalance. In fact, some experts believe that your gut is influenced by your feelings and thoughts. Chronic stress can cause imbalances in your gut flora, and thus, contribute to chronic illnesses. Therefore, aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and incorporate plenty of relaxing and mood-lifting activities, such as yoga, aromatherapy, meditation and your favorite exercises.
6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Gut Flora and Lose Weight
You have a rainforest of microbes in your gut, so the best way to increase the good bugs is to feed them a proper diet. The following are some simple steps to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, starting with your diet:
Say Yes to Unprocessed Foods and Make The Bulk Section Your Best Friend
Most foods that come out of a package are often rigorously processed to create a pleasant-tasting final product. However, during processing, the food loses most of its nutrients, making it an empty source of calories, and possibly pro-inflammatory ingredients.
Your best bet would be to cut out food containing sugar, refined carbs and vegetable oil and include more fiber-rich, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lentils and legumes and nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds also contain a special type of fiber that feed probiotics, called glucomannan.
You should also add high quality sources of protein to your diet as its slow-digesting properties, ensures you stay fuller for longer, keeping unhealthy cravings at bay.
Include More Plant-Based Foods
The good microbes in your gut love plant foods, because they’re excellent sources of gut-healing fiber. Aim to add more dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and collards as they’re dense sources of fiber, as well as essential minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium.
Get an Oil Change
Vegetable oil is packed with pro-inflammatory compounds that directly contribute to diabetes and weight gain. Therefore, instead of choosing fried foods, chips and other processed foods containing vegetable oil, try cooking your food at home using good fats such as olive oil and coconut oil. You can make a delicious batch of potato wedges, by just coating freshly cut potatoes with sea salt and olive oil and baking them.
Other delicious sources of omega-3s include avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cashew nuts and salmon.
Have More Coconut
Studies show that coconuts are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory medium chain triglycerides (MCT oils) that protect your body from inflammation and aid in weight loss. Try swapping your butter and vegetable oil for coconut butter, coconut oil and other natural coconut products.
Include More Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are excellent sources of probiotics and they can be added to almost any meal. Some delicious examples of fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh ad miso.
Pop a Pill
Numerous studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids aid in creating a healthy gut flora. In addition, to including foods rich in good fats, you should also take an omega-3 supplement for an added boost. In addition, taking a good probiotic supplement can also help your gut cultivate good bacteria and promote their growth.
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