Relationship Between Gut Health and Weight – There is a lot of data out there about keeping your gut healthy, but if you are only focusing on fiber, roughage, and water, you are missing out.
Indications are that having a wide variety of bacteria in the gut is critical to good health and maintaining a healthy weight.
What Are Gut Bacteria?
Gut bacteria are the indigenous bacteria that live in your intestine. They assist you in
- Breaking down your food
- Protecting the gut lining with healthy mucus
- Allowing you to absorb the most nutrients from what you eat
If your food intake is low on variety, particularly if you avoid fruits, veggies and whole grains, your gut bacteria may be limited or out of balance.
This limitation may lead to gut inflammation, bloating, and even limit how much nutrition you can absorb from what you eat. Over time, a lack of bacterial variety in the gut can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
How Your Gut Health Affects Your Weight
Research indicates that taking supplemental probiotics for weight loss, particularly if your diet has been limited or you have been on antibiotics, can greatly improve your chances of losing and keeping off weight.
The key is to provide your existing gut bacteria with what they need to thrive. A diet high in fruits and veggies is critical to giving your gut bacteria plenty of fiber to feed on.
If you are coming off a round of antibiotics and struggling with a sluggish gut, make sure you increase your intake of prebiotics, including
- Whole grains
- Cruciferous veggies
- Onions and garlic
These set the stage for a gut full of a wide variety of bacteria that can protect your gut lining and help you absorb the most nutrients from your diet.
Best and Worst Foods for Your Gut Bacteria
If you still are not sure how to best support a healthy gut, avoid beige foods. Brown bread is good, white bread is less so. A rainbow of veggies is healthier than a bowl of cooked pasta made of white flour. This rule does not apply to garlic, which is an excellent prebiotic.
Another option is to strive for sour or fermented foods. A soy burger on a whole wheat bun, loaded with pickles, is a wonderful way to support your gut. If you like beef or turkey instead, load it up with onions as a handy prebiotic so your pickles can do you the most good.
Of all the things to cut out of your diet, take care to avoid sugars and artificial sweeteners, especially if you are struggling with a lot of inflammation, constipation, or other signs of irregularity.
Strive to eat a rainbow of different colors each day. It does not take a lot of fermented foods to support your current gut biosphere, but if you are feeling sluggish or out of balance, a probiotic supplement may be in order.