Understanding Your Gut Health Is Essential For Permanent Weight Loss And Overall Radiant Health
Do you know just how crucial your gut health is to your overall health and wellbeing?
When people think about weight loss they automatically think about eating less and exercising more as the fastest way to achieve results. And while reducing calorie intake and moving your body to burn more fat does lead to weight loss, what a lot of people don’t know, is that having a healthy gut or microbiome is in fact absolutely key to losing weight and keeping it off.
Gut microbes alter how we store fat, how we balance our blood glucose levels, and how we respond to hormones that let us know when we are hungry or full.
Dysfunction in the gut is one of the biggest obstacles in your efforts to lose weight. This is important news because huge numbers of us have some kind of gut health disorder from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, and food allergies to inflammatory bowel diseases and constipation.
Simply put, the health of your gut is essential to your overall health, and the key to your losing weight and keeping it off. All of this is because of the microbiome housed in your gut.
What is the Microbiome?
The microbiome is a mysterious world we each hold within our bodies. Trillions of tiny bacteria and microscopic nonhuman organisms flourish inside us as an entirely separate ecology essential for our nutrition, development, and immunity.
The microbiome is present in the gastrointestinal tract and other openings in your body, such as your mouth, nose, lungs and if you’re a woman, your vaginal canal.
You can think of your gut and the microbiome as a space within your body with huge eco-diversity - an incredible mix of bacterial flora, fungi, even parasites, and viruses are in the mix, and each has a role to play in the greater ecosystem, delivering nutrition and providing you with immunity against invaders.
These intestinal organisms are responsible for digesting your food, controlling your metabolism, ruling your appetite, and defending your immune system against attack. What’s even more incredible is that these trillions of microscopic organisms make up 90% of our cells.
90 %! That’s mind-blowing! That means that the majority of our cells are non-human but rather they are made up of bacterial flora and fauna, so you get the idea of why it’s so important to keep them balanced and healthy.
New Scientific Studies
While scientists have been aware of our microbiome for a long time, it’s actually fairly recently that they have come to appreciate just how integral a balanced microbiome is to our health.
In the past, we believed that all microbes were unhealthy bacteria that could invade us and bring disease. Science now sees many microbes as helpful if not vital in performing functions that are crucial to our healthy survival. Rather than being invasive, the bacteria that live within us are beneficial colonizers.
In fact, according to Raphael Kellman, M.D.’s book, The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss, “Cutting edge science has shown that the microbiome is the secret to healthy, dramatic weight loss as well as significant improvements to your overall health, mood, energy, and mental function.”
In terms of weight loss, this is such key information to absorb. Scientific studies on gut health show that an imbalanced microbiome basically dooms your weight loss diet - whatever that may be - to failure. Conversely, someone with a balanced and healthy microbiome may not even make any other changes to their diet or lifestyle and still be able to lose weight. That is how powerful and how integral a balanced gut system is to us.
So how do you balance your gut health and microbiome to achieve weight loss?
Dr. Kellman says, “Don’t count calories, fats, or carbs to lose weight, just avoid the foods that hurt your microbiome and eat the foods that support it.”
Here are some key examples of how weight loss and gut health are totally intertwined.
- Obesity can be caused by a lack of diversity in gut flora.
- Unhealthy bacteria in your gut caused by a bad diet just triggers more food cravings for sugar, fat, etc.
- Inflammation of the gut causes more fat to be stored which can lead to diabetes
- Your metabolism is key to weight loss and a healthy microbiome is essential for a faster metabolism. Changing your gut bacteria, changes how your body produces and metabolizes energy.
- An unbalanced microbiome causes a leaky gut which leads to a vulnerable and compromised digestive system, causing weight gain and illness.
Lack of diversity in your gut flora means you are more likely to put on weight because the health of your microbiome is linked to the kinds of food you crave. Thanks to years of consuming large quantities of sugar, dairy products full of hormones, processed foods, non-organic meat, and overeating, many people have some form of impaired gut health. At the moment it’s far more common in the Western world to have an unbalanced gut than a balanced one.
Add to a bad diet, years of taking too many antibiotics, antacids, not drinking enough water, not getting enough fresh air and exercise, plus suffering from anxiety and chronic stress and you are setting yourself up for all kinds of health problems, not just weight gain but diabetes, migraines, cancer, brain fog, sleep problems and depression.
Having an unhealthy diet and an unbalanced gut is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken due to the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria that will continue to trigger your cravings for sugary, fatty, processed foods until you make the changes needed in your microbiome.
One of the main reasons it is so hard for people to keep the weight loss going is due to a chronically imbalanced microbiome. When the bacteria in your gut gets used to being fed with processed foods and too much sugar, it becomes the most familiar state and therefore the bacteria crave more of those foods, triggering your own food cravings.
You can make quick changes!
The good news is that you can turn all of this around quickly by changing your diet and focusing on all the factors that contribute to balancing your microbiome and gut health. The average lifespan of the bacterial flora and fauna in your microbiome is just 20 minutes, you literally have the chance to make healthy changes every time you sit down for a meal. You can start making changes straight away.
How to Improve your Gut MicroBiome
Your gut microbiome is not only affected by your diet, your environment, the air you breathe, the amount of sleep and exercise you get and your stress levels are all factors as well. However, what you put inside your body is the largest determining factor in what microbes live in your gut.
There is an approach to gut health called the 4Rs in Functional Medicine, these stand for Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, and Repair. It’s not necessary for you to find a professional to help you balance your gut health, you can make some easy adjustments to your diet and start changing your microbiome straight away.
Here are the best ways to prepare and balance your gut health for weight loss:
Ensure you eat the right foods
The way that you eat affects the integrity of your gut, which in turn lays the foundation for your overall health.
A varied diet consisting of healthy, non-processed foods will make your gut microbiome begin to work for you. Once you bring your gut back into balance, the occasional dessert or portion of fries will not destroy your weight loss goals.
Remove artificial sweeteners.
Sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance by altering the gut bacteria negatively.
Eliminate sugar and processed foods
Processed foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates are easily absorbed into your small intestine and don’t need the help of your gut microbes, which means the gut microbes stay hungry and start to eat the cell lining of your intestines, known as leaky gut. That barrier weakens, which causes food particles to enter your bloodstream without purification, leading to inflammation and other more serious issues like autoimmunity.
Eat leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are filled with nutritious qualities and your gut flora will love the diverse bacteria that comes from these foods. Radishes, leeks, carrots, asparagus, and garlic are also excellent.
Eat whole grains
Some of the best nutrients for a healthy microbiome are found in fruits and vegetables high in fiber. Try to include the following as much as possible in your meals.
- Beans (kidney, pinto, and white)
- Whole grains
- Green peas
Include more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, pickles, kimchi, kefir, live yogurt, sourdough, and kombucha. These are filled with good, healthy bacteria, mainly Lactobacilli. live cultures that aid your gut in breaking down goods and boosting your immune and digestive system.
If fermented foods are new for you, begin with just ¼ cup at a time and introduce more as you get used to them. Adding a ton of fermented food to your diet if you never have before might cause digestive upset.
Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotic-rich food includes bananas, oats, apples, artichokes, and asparagus. Prebiotics are a kind of fiber that increases the growth of good, healthy bacteria.
Remove inflammatory fats.
Don’t use inflammatory omega 6 rich fats like vegetable oils, instead replace them with healthier fats like extra-virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil.
Add a probiotic supplement to your diet
Probiotics help reseed your microbiome with healthy bacteria and maintain its ecosystem by increasing the numbers and diversity of gut flora. If possible, limit your use of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary (many times these are over-prescribed to us). It’s important to consult with your doctor on that, and if you are taking antibiotics, follow them with probiotics.
Add a digestive enzyme to your diet
Many people rely too much on antacids for their high stomach acid and instead supplement with a digestive enzyme. These help you digest meals better and also reduce gas, heartburn, and bloating. Beginning your day with a glass of hot water and lemon juice is also a great way to aid digestion.
Believe it or not, your gut is actually highly connected to your emotions. When your microbiome is out of balance, you may experience anxiety, stress, fatigue, and depression. Aside from eating healthier, you can also make sure you are mindful as you eat and even try to get into a meditative state before meals. When you sit down to eat, take a breath, pause, and become conscious of what you are about to consume. If you like, give thanks in your mind for all the people, plants, animals that contribute to your meal.
Get regular sleep
Sleep deprivation or sleep irregularities can cause obesity because lack of sleep can change your gut flora. The problem is that in order to get a better night’s sleep, you need a more balanced gut flora. The two go hand in hand. When you get a good night’s sleep your cortisol levels are lowered, and your gut has time to restore and repair itself.
Make you work up a sweat every day if possible. Regular movement increases the good bacteria in your microbiome as well as being a great way to keep fit, increase endorphins, and improve your sleep patterns.
Get out into Nature
Contrary to some beliefs, overly sterile and clean environments actually harm the biodiversity of your microbiome. Humans need to get out into the dirt, touch the soil, spend time in nature, and in a diversity of environments to promote the health of their microbiome.
Drink more tea.
Tea is rich in polyphenols which increase healthy microbes and help to balance your gut. The polyphenols in black and green tea help to digest your food quicker, reduce hunger cravings, and also decrease the gut’s ability to absorb fat and sugar. Studies in green tea show that catechins increase the body’s ability to excrete fat.
Eliminate foods to test for allergies
If you suffer from gas, pain, cramping, or heartburn after eating you might have an allergy or food sensitivity. The best way to test this is to eliminate certain foods and see how you feel. The most common allergies are to wheat (gluten), peanuts, soy, dairy milk, corn, and eggs. You should also consider cutting out coffee, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners during this time to see if symptoms improve.
Bring awareness to your meals
Many of us eat on the run or prepare meals quickly. Bring a certain ritual to your meal preparation and increase your awareness and intention around eating. It will help you relax and aid digestion.
Chewing slowly helps your digestive process and will also help you to realize when you are full. Breaking down your food into smaller pieces also stimulates saliva production, telling your body that the digestive system can start work.
Drink more Water
Most of us don’t drink enough. We need regular hydration to help the body remove waste and stimulate the metabolism. Drinking plenty of water also has a beneficial effect on the lining of the intestines and the balance of healthy bacteria in the microbiome. Drinking more water may also suppress food cravings, often we are thirsty when we think we are hungry.
The above suggestions are the appropriate, healthy actions required that lead to normalized gut function and ultimately weight loss through a balanced, healthy, diverse microbiome.
The Ultimate Weight Loss Plan
The ultimate weight loss plan is to eat the carbs and fats that support your gut health and eliminate those that harm it. You can literally forget about counting calories and just eat in an intuitive, healthy way and know that as your gut health comes into balance, you will naturally lose your unhealthy food cravings. You’ll even be able to include the odd indulgence without guilt because it won’t disrupt your entire system.
The most important thing to realize is just how crucial your gut health is to your overall health and your struggles for weight loss. The microbiome is an entire system with a collective power that will help you achieve your ideal weight, metabolism, and appetite.
Simply put, when your microbiome thrives, so do you. When it struggles or weakens, so does your health. An issue in your gut is the biggest obstacle you face when it comes to losing weight. Not missing your gym session, not eating a piece of cake.
This is great news because the health of your gut is entirely within your control and bringing it into balance doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s simply about making intelligent, careful changes to your lifestyle and diet and within a very short space of time, you will start to feel and look better.
If you’re looking for an organic, vegan, non GMO probiotic supplement for gut health, our GlutaRaise contains S11™ Probiotics Blend to help restore your gut flora, manage your blood sugar levels, and benefit your microbiom, therefore aiding your weight loss efforts.