Who would have thought the bacteria and health of your gut could affect your ability to lose weight?
This isn’t to say that eating healthy and exercise aren’t a part of a heathy weight loss plan, because they most certainly are. However, recent research has discovered that another important risk factor affecting obesity and weight management is the gut microbiome.
The human gut microbiome houses several trillions of microbes residing in the gastrointestinal tract. These microbes have several important roles in the body such as producing certain vitamins and hormones, communicating with the immune system, functioning of the digestive tract and regulating energy metabolism.
Your gut bacteria lines your intestines and comes into contact with the food you ingest. Depending on the type and balance of bacteria can determine the way your body utilises or “burns” calories from the food we consume. This means certain bacteria are more efficient at using energy as opposed to storing it.
This is how your gut can get out of whack:
• Added and refined sugars, and processed foods
• High stress, trauma and fast paced living
• Excessive use of antibiotics
• Exposure to chemicals from manufactured products and environmental toxins
How many of these are you exposed to you on a daily basis?
How can you regain balance of your gut bacteria?
• Probiotics – they are live microorganisms and can be found in fermented food such as kombucha and sauerkraut or as a nutritional supplement.
• Prebiotics – these are indigestible food products that stimulate the growth of bacteria, already present in the colon. They can be found in certain vegetables, fruits or grains.
• Bone broth – Contains gelatin which contains amino acids (building blocks of protein), that are important for gut integrity and function.
• A healthy diet rich in fibre, colourful plant foods and limited in added and refined sugars, preservatives, additives and processed foods.
Candace Sciberras is a Dietitian at OnePointHealth.