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Can gut flora really help me lose weight?

The importance of gut health is often overlooked. Healthy gut flora plays an important role in just about every aspect of overall health. Consuming probiotics is one way to improve gut health. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how consuming probiotics can help with weight loss.

probiotic food and gut health


What are probiotics?

Your body is home to a microbiome, organisms found throughout the body, especially in the digestive tract. Probiotics are live organisms found in several foods which help to maintain your gut microbiota.


There are several types of probiotics. They include bacteria, bacterial spores, and yeasts.


Benefits of probiotics

Probiotics have several benefits that include

  • helping to maintain the health of your digestive system,

  • helping with the absorption of medications and vitamins,

  • improved mental health,

  • improved immunity and

  • better heart health including lower blood pressure and reduced LDL cholesterol levels

Weight Management

There are several ways that probiotics can help you to maintain and to lose weight.

probiotics and weight management

  • Diversity of gut microbiome

  • The diversity (that is the number of different bacteria) of the gut microbiome affects your ability to lose weight. Probiotics and prebiotics (see below) can help you to improve your gut microbiome diversity.

  • Types of gut bacteria

  • Your gut flora is as unique as your fingerprint. But one thing that has been shown is that people who are obese have different gut bacteria than those who are not. Consuming the right types of probiotics can help with this.

  • Digestive issues

  • Diseases of the digestive system can make weight loss difficult in some situations. Digestive issues can contribute to stress and anxiety which can make weight loss difficult. Some medications for digestive diseases also contribute to weight gain.

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Chronic inflammation is linked not only to several diseases but it is also linked to weight gain. Inflammation can lead to insulin resistance and leptin resistance. Both can lead to weight gain, or difficulty losing weight. Probiotics help to reduce inflammation, especially gut inflammation.

  • Anxiety and depression

  • One of the important parts of how probiotics help with weight loss is the brain-gut connection. Poor gut health can lead to anxiety and depression. These mental illnesses can contribute to the inability to lose weight. The result can be increased stress eating, increased inflammation, and higher cortisol levels.

  • Anxiety and depression can also lead to poor eating habits and less physical activity. Medications taken for anxiety and depression can also contribute to weight gain.



probiotic foods

What foods contain probiotics

Probiotics are found in several foods.

  • Yogurt (Dairy-Free) with live probiotics. (These bacteria are killed in the processing of some yogurt)

  • Kefir, a fermented drink similar to a thin yogurt

  • Unpasteurized sauerkraut. Sauerkraut which is pasteurized or made with vinegar won’t contain healthy probiotics.

  • Kimchi is a spicy Korean cabbage dish similar to sauerkraut. It also should be unpasteurized and made without vinegar.

  • Miso soup, a Japanese fermented bean soup



prebiotic foods

Combining with prebiotics

As helpful as probiotics are, they work even better with prebiotics. Prebiotics are the dietary fibre that is indigestible and is fermented by probiotics. They essentially act as food for these bacteria.



Sources of prebiotics include

  • vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and Brussel sprouts,

  • leeks, onions, and garlic

  • Whole grains like oats, barley, and wheat

  • Flaxseeds




Should you use supplements

It can be difficult to find a reliable source of probiotics from food so you may want to consider supplementing. However, if you are currently experiencing any gastrointestinal distress, it’s not recommended to start supplementing without supervision, as this can make it worse as your body adjusts to it.


Probiotic supplements are also not highly regulated so it’s important to choose a reliable source. I can provide you with recommendations for probiotics, prebiotics, and other supplements that will work with your unique situation. If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to book a free nutrition assessment! In the assessment, we'll go discuss your needs and goals, what is involved in your personalized eating plan, and how it will work for you! You can book a call by clicking here!


Summary

Probiotics play an important role in gut health and overall health. Some research on probiotics is still early, but the benefits are clear. Probiotics on their own won’t fix a broken diet. You can learn more about my free assessments and what they entail by visiting this page.


References:

webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics#:~:text=Probiotics are live bacteria and,help keep your gut healthy.

my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics

healthline.com/nutrition/8-health-benefits-of-probiotics#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4

draxe.com/nutrition/probiotic-foods/