Don't worry, we all have bacteria growing on all parts of our body.
Scientists have known for years that our gut is home to tons of bacteria that live off of our nutrients. What they haven't known for years is how our gut bacteria affect the rest of our body.
While most people think of illnesses when they hear the word “bacteria,” they actually assist in needed bodily functions like producing vitamins, digesting food, enhancing and regulating the immune system, protecting against disease, and lowering your chances of becoming sick.
In this article, you will learn how an unhealthy gut can lead to serious illnesses like obesity, but also how a healthy gut can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Read on to discover tips that you can integrate in your life for a healthy digestive system!
Obesity and Gut Bacteria
Obesity has been a problem in the U.S. for decades. According to 2018 data, adult obesity rates are over 35% in seven states.
While diet and exercise have traditionally taken the blame for obesity, a recent study has found a new link between obesity and gut bacteria.
Research has found that human gut bacteria is unique to each individual, which has allowed researchers to look into the differences between gut bacteria in thinner people and gut bacteria in obese people.
What they found was that healthier, non-obese individuals have a different composition of bacteria than their obese counterparts do.
While this all sounds like a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo, it really comes down to this: the composition of your gut bacteria can help determine if you may suffer from obesity or not.
Read on to learn ways to determine how healthy your gut is and alter the composition of your gut bacteria if needed.
Gut Health Basics
The tricky thing about gut health is that because it's been largely not understood for years, your average Joe doesn't know much about it.
The list below spells out a few of the common signs that your gut health is out of whack.
If you suffer from one or many of these symptoms constantly, you may have an issue with your gut bacteria.
- Food intolerances: Trouble digesting certain foods can point to an imbalance of gut bacteria. Bloating, diarrhea and gas can be symptoms of this.
- Upset stomach: Without proper gut bacteria, the stomach can have issues processing and disposing of food. Symptoms could be heartburn, gas, constipation or bloating.
- Unpredictable weight changes: Unbalanced gut bacteria can lead to issues absorbing nutrients, leveling out blood sugar, or processing fat. This can lead to unintended weight gain and losses.
- Diet high in sugar: If your diet is high in sugar, good bacteria in your gut can decrease over time. This can cause inflammation, which is a gateway to many more serious diseases.
- Fatigue: An imbalanced gut can also lead to issues sleeping, which can cause chronic fatigue.
If you suffer from one or more of these gut-related issues, read on to learn how you can regain the proper balance of gut bacteria.
Steps Towards a Healthy Gut
There are many things you can do in your daily life that can improve your gut health one day at a time!
Eat slowly and intentionally. When you eat meals, be sure to chew thoroughly and take your time. When you rush through meals, you can disrupt digestion and prevent nutrient absorption. It's also important to rid your diet of unnecessary sugar.
Lower your stress levels. High stress puts a strain on your whole body and your gut. Try attending a yoga class, journaling or experimenting with meditation.
Get enough water. Water is essential for your body to carry out its basic tasks. Proper hydration helps your gut to produce the mucus needed in your intestinal lining.
Get some shut-eye. Sleep is another basic but important part of overall health. When it comes to your gut, too little sleep can throw your bacterial balance out of whack, which can even lead to insomnia. Try turning off screens at least an hour before bed. Talk or read a book to help you fall asleep.
Take a probiotic. Probiotic supplements provide a food source for the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. If you are someone who suffers from low bacteria in the gut, a probiotic could help you balance out.
Probiotics for Weight Loss
Probiotics have become very popular both in the promotion of a healthy gut and for weight loss. You can supplement them in your diet through a combination of probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich foods.
Depending on which you choose, these foods have either gone through a fermentation process or have had good bacteria added to them.
- Certain cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, gouda)
- Fermented teas (Kombucha)
When it comes to probiotic supplements, Culturelle and Florastor have been acclaimed among the best probiotics. They are both supported by evidence to address not only gut problems, but also general digestive health and immunity.
Healthy Choices for Your Gut and Beyond
Your fitness and all-around wellness start with what you put on the table.
A healthy diet – especially one that integrates probiotic-rich foods – will help your digestive health, immunity and mood to soar.
If you'd like help in determining the right diet for you, check out our Free 1-Day Meal Plan!
Our Free 1-Day Meal Plan covers all of the portioning and nutrient choices you should be making with every meal. You will discover exactly what to eat to lose weight and feel energized – all without hard dieting.
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