Is poor gut health preventing you from achieving a happy weight?
If you feel as though you’re doing all the right things with your diet – good food in moderation and adequate exercise – but your shape and health are still not improving, it may be time to delve a little further.
Why gut health is important in achieving and maintaining a happy weight
There is such a wealth of research being conducted into the microflora of our gastrointestinal tract and how this relates to the way we metabolise food, convert it to energy and store it in the body for future use.
If you’ve browsed other articles on our website, by now you’ve probably read about the importance of the human microbiome. You see, our body plays host to a congregation of bacterial, protozoal and fungal microorganisms and microbes and there’s increasing evidence that those found in the digestive system play a huge role in our overall health. In particular, they affect our ability to maintain a healthy weight.
The great thing about these studies is the discovery that gut flora can be altered to promote weight loss and even prevent obesity. This can be done by simply making healthier food choices, balancing your lifestyle, and putting extra emphasis on stress management.
Signs and symptoms of poor gut health
Data already demonstrated by research is reason enough to start paying more attention to the quality and quantity of our microflora diversity. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below, then poor gut bacteria or microflora balance may be part of the reason you’re unable to effectively burn fat and lose weight.
- Constipation or altered bowel motions
- Nausea with meals
- Undigested food in your stool
- Mucus or blood in the stool
- Light or clay-coloured stools, green stools, or black stools
- Pain or cramping
- Urgency or having to run to the toilet
Studies have also shown that overweight or obese individuals have significantly lower bacterial diversity. It's been found that the bugs in our gut affect our hunger and satiety hormones leptin, ghrelin and peptide YY (PYY). Thankfully research has also determined that the impact of our microflora is not fixed, and what we eat each day can drastically improve or impair it.
Another reason why we may want to give our gut more attention is that studies have established that our propensity to lose or gain weight depends more on the quality of gut flora than our genetic profile. It has also been found that when gut bacteria from obese individuals were transferred to mice, the mice themselves gained weight!
Caring for your gut
The importance of caring for the bugs in our gut is gaining more popularity nowadays. Now that evidence shows how friendly gut bacteria can aid in weight loss and management, we should include certain foods to promote such a healthier gut environment.
Fermented foods top the list as they encourage microflora balance in addition to their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The process of fermentation also lowers the carb count on the food you’re fermenting, which can be quite valuable if you’re attempting to shave off a significant amount of body fat.
Start yourself and even your children on these foods immediately, especially if you’ve had a cesarean delivery and your kids missed out on that vital mouthful of good bacteria in the vaginal canal during birth.
There is a wide range of fermented foods you can incorporate into your diet. These include:
- coconut kefir
- coconut yoghurt
When choosing your options, remember that heat destroys the delicate bacteria in fermented foods, so opt for raw when possible.
The best way to ensure the fermented foods you’re consuming are high in therapeutic strains of bacteria and free from nasties is to make your own using cultured ferments. Adding a probiotic capsule to coconut water is a simple way of making coconut water kefir or just have our Happy Greens will provide your system with LIVE probiotics.
Turmeric is another nutritional supplement you can use to promote healthy gut flora. In herbal medicine, the root is commonly used to heal a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions. Have you tried our Happy Turmeric?
Lastly, we now know that stress itself can influence the actual physiology of the gut and cause bad bacteria growth. So on top of modifying your diet to include foods that promote healthy gut flora, keep up your walks in nature, meditation, yoga and time spent doing things you’re most passionate about!