Did you know that our gut actually dictates our weight? Well, I didn't know that until I started diving into the world of the microbiome and microbes. Our " gut microbiome " is the "secret to weight control."
In other words, if you're not feeding your microbes (good bacteria), you're most likely hindering weight loss. But how is that done? You need to learn 3 basic steps:
- Know the gut microbiome.
- Discover the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria.
- Increase the amount of good bacteria to help control weight.
Human Gut Project
According to this project , we are more bacteria than humans! 10 trillion human cells vs. 100 trillion bacterial cells. The gut is the very definition of what we call the " core of all health " and the purpose of its microbiome is to maintain the optimal integrity of the lining of the intestines, the microbiota and to maintain a healthy immune system.
As we age, our gut microbiome ages as well. And this is one of several factors that can diminish our microbes, along with antibiotic use, environmental toxins, and diet.
In addition, the imbalance of intestinal bacteria is one of the causes of chronic disorders such as high blood pressure, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, dementia, cancer and obesity.
The gut microbiome produces a variety of neurotransmitters that can improve mental health. In fact, the connection between the gut and our emotional state is so deep that the gut is considered the second brain.
My experience with the gut microbiome
In 2016 I started taking a probiotic supplement with a 30 billion CFU potency of a probiotic that carries spores and prebiotics (it's food for gut bacteria).
After 8 weeks, my supposed version of the "stubborn 3lbs" I was trying to lose finally fell away. Remember, that as we age, our digestive system changes. I could notice the change as I got closer to 35.
Back then, I only knew about probiotics and digestive enzymes to help break down food better. My primary purpose of consuming probiotics was to help restore my flora from antibiotic abuse. I have tried numerous brands that my gastroenterologist recommended.
Some provided me with significant help compared to others I had tried. I have pretty much used each and every one since I was 23 years old when I was first introduced to Florastar in Colombia Medellin.
There are countless different brands and types of probiotics available today. I have noticed that they are different types of strains and each one of them has a different purpose. Also, certain foods help improve these types of CFU strains. For example, pomegranate significantly enhances the growth of strains of bifidobacteria and lactobacillus.
Research has been able to say that certain strains help control IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and improve mental health. If she wasn't taking florastar, she was consuming kefir and live cultures found in yogurts. Those were just my main sources. But it was not enough.
After learning so much about the importance of the gut microbiome, my goal was to expand and provide my gut with a variety of probiotics and prebiotics through food and supplements.
Some functional medicine practitioners like myself would recommend starting a regimen to help expand and develop the good bacteria for at least 8 weeks. Especially when you have a low amount and they are not enough to fight the bad bacteria.
We have good and bad bacteria in our gut microbiome
Each has its own purpose. The bad bacteria is damaging our microbiome. The more you feed these types of bacteria, the more likely you are to get the chronic disorders mentioned above.
Bad bacteria multiply due to the current diet regimen people have (inadequate amount of fiber and processed foods). These bacteria are what speak to your first brain through the vagus nerve and remain "feed me, feed me" even though you just ate.
This occurs because you didn't eat enough fiber, which is what neutralizes the bad bacteria and feeds the good ones to stop transmitting hunger messages.
The ones that feed the bad bacteria are: refined sugar, processed foods, and fried foods. This type of diet is formally known as the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Instead the good bacteria feed on cellulose (prebiotic) which is a fiber and CFU from a variety of probiotic strains.
There are certain stool tests you can get to see what strains you are missing or need. If you don't want to go down the stool sampling route to get the bigger picture, I'd advise doing some trial and error to find the strain that suits your gut needs.
You have other options to guide you to the right path. You can seek professional functional medicine help to do all the hard work for you.
What foods help improve intestinal bacteria and lose weight
- Eat a variety of colorful vegetables throughout the week. Especially root vegetables like artichoke, turnips, beets, dandelions, kohlrabi, turmeric, ginseng, ginger, radishes, jicama, parsnips, carrots, cassava, taro, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.
2. Supplement with probiotics for at least 2 months to expand the microbes' food.
3. Consume complex carbohydrates, instead of refined sugars.
4. Include fermented foods such as kombucha, soy, tofu and sauerkraut in your diet. They will help you restore the proper balance of bacteria in the intestine. It also increases the absorption of nutrients.
5. Try a new fruit or vegetable every two weeks to expand the variety of the microbiota.
6. Try to cook vegetables differently each time. Steam, boil, pan fry, grill or air fry.
7. Eat cellulose. Although it tends to be harder to digest, this type of fiber is what feeds the beneficial microbes. You can get it by cooking leeks, especially the skin. Grill them and just eat a few bites, this will make your microbes very happy.
Cellulose is also found in the skin and roots of certain vegetables such as broccoli stems. Try to eat the skin and roots of each vegetable instead of throwing it away.
8. Studies have shown that following an anti-inflammatory or Mediterranean diet-like diet helps improve the gut microbiome, due to high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and antioxidants.
I tend to eat at least 1 root vegetable a day and a prebiotic like fermented sauerkraut, tofu, tempeh, soybeans to help heal my gut and feed my microbes. This is how intestinal bacteria are improved.
Remember that this is the secret weapon: when you leave your microbes hungry, you will continue to eat until you are satisfied. However, that's how your bad bacteria win because you're letting the good ones starve. Good bacteria eat cellulose. It's a harder fiber to digest and eat, but it's the only fuel that fuels the good guys. This is how they expand and grow.
Add a supplement of good bacteria to your diet
Some people need a supplement to help expand. That's why Bernard Kizer, the founder and CEO of Evolution Advance Nutrition, worked diligently for over a year to find the best formula called Good Bacteria .
This supplement provides 30 billion CFU of these probiotic strains: Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salvivarius, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium breve, and Lactobacill.
I recommend you complement yourself with this product to help you develop your microbiome. Some people may need it long term, short term or for the rest of their lives.
You can start taking the supplement for at least 2 months to develop the good bacteria. You can then consume it for maintenance due to the fact that as we age, we lose the ability to produce digestive enzymes from our pancreas. We need an "extra push" to better digest our food.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the recommended daily intake of fiber is at least 25 grams for men and 30 grams for women. Less than a quarter of the population meets the requirements.
It takes time to adjust to bloating when starting a fiber regimen. That is why I encourage my clients to start with this product to help ease the pain they feel by increasing fiber.
If we continue to underfeed our bacteria, the body won't be able to defend itself when invaders (like viruses) show up. And it may be reflected in increased appetite and weight, as well as emotions such as anxiety, stress, depression, even a lack of motivation to be productive, just to name a few.
So if you want to be happier and perform better on a daily basis, try changing your mindset and perspective to understand how whatever you put in your gut will dictate your emotions. The most important thing is to better understand your second brain.
I am here to help you achieve your goals and improve your life optimally. So I encourage you to read my other post on lifestyle changes. All these items are related to each other.
It is an honor for me to be part of this team and disseminate information that contributes to improving the lives and health of as many people as possible.