I’ve been doing some research on gut health and I thought I’d share some with you, particularly the connection between your gut flora and your weight.
In recent years, a growing body of research has shed light on the significant impact of your gut, often referred to as the “second brain,” on various aspects of our overall well-being.
Most people don’t realize this but the healthy bacteria in our gut do everything from digesting food to regulating blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. They also make B vitamins which give us energy and produce 95% of your serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating moods. I like to call it our zest for life transmitter 🙂 That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘gut feeling’!
They’re also responsible for creating melatonin which helps you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up well rested! So if you’re missing out on your ZZZ’s it could be as simple as restoring your gut health- Kind of crazy huh??
Bottom line, if your gut is off, most of the above will be also and the fastest way to resolve these issues is not with more meds, but by getting our guts right!
(For some reason that line just doesn’t sound right LOL but you get the idea 🙂
One of the most intriguing discoveries in this area is the crazy connection between the gut and weight loss.
So let’s dive in and explore the importance of gut health in relation to weight management, understand the role of normal flora in regulating our body’s weight, and learn about actionable steps to improve gut health for successful weight loss.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start 🙂
The gastrointestinal tract is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota or normal flora. These microscopic organisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and archaea, which play a crucial role in maintaining our overall health. The gut microbiota acts as an essential interface between the food we eat and our body, influencing digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.
The Gut Microbiota and Weight Regulation
Some bacteria possess the ability to extract more energy from the food we eat. When these bacteria digest complex carbohydrates, they produce short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites. While these metabolites are beneficial for our gut health, an excess of energy extracted from food can lead to weight gain. So you don’t want too many of these guys!
Appetite Regulation: Gut microbes can influence our appetite and cravings through their communication with the central nervous system. Some bacteria produce signaling molecules that affect the brain’s regions responsible for appetite control. A balanced gut microbiota can promote feelings of satiety and help prevent overeating. However on the other hand if you’re missing some of the “good guys” you might find yourself always hungry or craving the wrong food.
Inflammation and Metabolism: An imbalance in gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, can lead to chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and metabolic disorders. These conditions can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate weight effectively. For example insulin resistance will cause excess fat storage and ultimately lead to prediabetes.
Fat Storage and Distribution: Studies have shown that the gut microbiota can influence fat storage and distribution in the body. An imbalance in gut bacteria may also contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat.
Of course we all know modern diets high in processed foods, unhealthy fats, and added sugars can negatively impact gut health. Consuming a diet low in fiber and rich in sugary and fatty foods promotes the growth of harmful bacteria while suppressing beneficial microbes. This imbalance can lead to a variety of health issues, including weight gain and difficulty losing excess weight.
While we all know this.. one thing that I find really interesting is the fact that there are around 3,000 chemicals that we regularly consume in the modern American diet. Many of these kill off healthy bacteria including antibiotics that are found in many meats.
This is why I’ve been a big proponent of what I would call a “gut reset”. This simply involves eating well along with taking the right supplements such as probiotics and prebiotics to help restore the good guys 🙂
Emphasize a whole-food, diet rich in fiber, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods support the growth of beneficial bacteria and contribute to a balanced gut microbiota.
Incorporate fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha into your diet. These probiotic-rich foods introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut, promoting a healthier microbiota.
While all these are good I would very highly recommend a high quality probiotic. Honestly it just makes life a little easier…personally I’d rather take a probiotic than try to get my kimchi in for the day… Here’s one 🙂
Also, include prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks and asparagus in your diet. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that nourish and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the delicate balance of gut microbiota. Whenever possible, opt for natural remedies or consult your healthcare provider to determine the necessity of antibiotics.
Chronic stress can negatively impact gut health. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature to support a healthier gut. I know that it’s easier said than done, but do your best.
Okay I get it all of the above ideas sound wonderful but sometimes they’re just challenging I mean reducing stress getting enough sleep and eating well can certainly be challenging that’s why I like to lean on supplements like the probiotic and in particular my new shake which has pre and probiotics in it and tastes amazing.
If necessary, I can also write you a note so your employer can give you some time off, maybe a nice long paid vacation 🙂 you can tell them it’s for your gut health!
Bottom line, the significance of gut health and the role of normal flora in weight loss cannot be underestimated. In fact it’s been estimated that up to 90% of health challenges originate with a gut that’s out of balance.
The solution? Start incorporating prebiotic foods, managing stress, and prioritizing sleep, because improved gut health can lead not only to effective weight loss but also to overall better health and well-being.
If you’d like a list of healthy foods that support gut health click here.
P.S. If you have any questions about any of this just shoot me an email 🙂 Happy to help out however I can!