Gut Bacteria: The Key To Weight Loss

 

It turns out that weight loss is a little more complicated than calories in versus calories out. Calories are important but it’s really about where those calories come from that determines whether or not your turning your body into a fat burning machine. You have over 100 TRILLION bacteria in your body that is changed completely by the foods that you eat. These bacteria determine how your body handles calories and whether or not to store them as fat…

What Are Bacteria?

Bacteria are microorganisms that are located EVERYWHERE throughout your body. Found in your skin, mouth, nose, and, of course, your intestines, it is estimated that for every human cell that makes up your body, there are 10 bacteria cells! That tells us that there is 10x more bacteria than human cells in your body. So, they must be pretty important, right? BINGO!

More specific to article, gut bacteria is found in the lining of your intestines. It helps your body break down the foods that you eat. In turn, allowing you to receive the nutrients that your body needs to function. Poor gut bacteria health has been shown to put you at a much higher risk for weight gain and, worse yet, certain diseases that we will discuss later…

Why Is It Important?

You should already be beginning to understand the importance of bacteria in your body after reading through the introduction. Let’s dive a little deeper and discuss it’s importance more in depth so that you can gain a better understanding of it’s physical and mental health benefits.

The subject of gut bacteria is a relativity new topic of discussion but it’s beginning to attract more and more attention in the medical field. Studies have already made links between a person’s bacterial makeup and certain diseases. Scientists suggest that by looking at a person’s bacteria, doctors may be able diagnose and treat diseases earlier! Who knows, this revelation could, potentially, save your life someday!

So far, research has already found links between bacteria and the following conditions: colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression, and several others! Research is still being conducted to reveal exactly how these conditions and bacteria are linked. Once these links become more obvious, doctors will be able to diagnose and begin treating disease earlier than they otherwise would have been able to. This will greatly increase a person’s chances of overcoming that disease!

Other important functions of bacteria include:

  • Helping your body digest foods that were not digested in your stomach or small intestine.
  • Assisting in the production of vitamins B and K.
  • Aiding in keeping your immune system healthy so that your body can ward off sickness and disease.

Leaky Gut

One of the most important functions of your gut is to prevent foreign substances from passing through your intestinal walls into your bloodstream. However, some people develop what is known as “leaky gut syndrome.” When this occurs, your intestinal walls become permeable, allowing foreign substances to enter your bloodstream. Your body notices these foreign substance in your bloodstream and launches a full blown attack to remove it.

Depending on how healthy your immune system is and the amount of foreign substances entering your bloodstream, your immune system may not be able to keep up. This issue has been known to cause autoimmune diseases such as diabetes. In addition, it may cause certain skin conditions like eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, mental illness, depression, and more.  One important fact to note is that you could have leaky gut syndrome without having any symptoms whatsoever!

If you have leaky gut syndrome, follow these guidelines to restore the integrity of your intestinal walls:

  • Eliminate food toxins from your diet
  • Manage your stress
  • Consume fermentable fibers (sweet potatoes, yams…)
  • Eat fermented foods (I address these later)

Gut Bacteria & Weight Loss

These tiny bacteria are clearly a much bigger deal than initially thought of! Because of their role in helping your body digest food, you can understand how it can either promote weight loss or gain. The studies that I am going to discuss next prove how having more diverse gut bacteria can turn your body into a fat burning machine!

In attempts to discover bacteria’s role in lean versus obese individuals, scientists looked at twins who were either both lean or both obese. After testing samples of bacteria from both groups, the scientists discovered that the lean twin’s bacteria was much more diverse than that of the obese twins. This finding makes complete sense! Think about it, the more diverse your bacteria, the wider array of nutrients your body is able to break down and use rather than store away as fat! Boom, mind blown!

Promoting Healthy Bacteria

Now that you know having diverse bacteria is the key to preventing disease and losing weight, you’re wondering where to start. Prebiotics and probiotics are the two most widely studied elements that have been shown to promote a healthy gut! These two gut health powerhouses work together to preserve your health by balancing and diversifying your gut bacteria, specifically promoting the production of new “good bacteria.”. Together they provide a one, two combination by battling inflammation AND reducing your risk of disease.

Here’s a list of the top prebiotic sources and probiotic strains:

prebioticsgraphic2

Probiotics_ArticleInfograph-FINAL1.jpg

Photos courtesy of Dr. Axe

Fermented foods have also been shown to be highly beneficial for your gut because of their ability to promote healthy bacteria. Here’s a list of the absolute best fermented foods for your gut:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Natto
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Pickles (one your actually familiar with)
  • Lassi

Recent studies have also revealed that exercise may help promote more diverse gut bacteria as well. Guess what they discovered after examining gut bacteria from athlete’s and comparing that with their non-athletic peers… If you guessed that athletes had healthier guts then you guessed correct! That means if you’re not currently active then you need to get movin’ and groovin’ to jump start your gut health! Be sure that when you’re exercising that you’re not making any of these common exercise mistakes.

Once you have established healthy gut bacteria you will begin to notice several benefits. You will feel less bloated, have less cravings, and your body will be able to deliver nutrients more effectively. More effective nutrient delivery means better workouts and better overall energy throughout the day. That means you won’t be having to run for that coffee or energy drink around 3 in the afternoon when fatigue normally begins to set in.

Now that you understand bacteria and your gut, you also see the importance of both diet and exercise. Remember, it’s not always about HOW MUCH you eat but WHAT you eat that matters. Stay away from sugary foods, stick to unprocessed items, include fermented foods and foods containing pre and probiotics, and get your exercise in! By doing this, you will have your body primed and ready to ward off disease and kick that unwanted belly fat to the curb, once and for all!

Related: 11 Foods Proven To Boost Your Mood

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