How to Keep Your Gut and Your Weight Healthy
Recent studies have only just begun to discover the role that gut bacteria may play in weight gain, pointing to the importance of a balanced gut microbiome.
When the balance is disrupted – a process called dysbiosis – this is thought to affect metabolism, and may also play a role in health conditions such as obesity.
Relationships between your gut and your weight
Your body contains more bacterial cells than human cells. These bacteria are primarily located in your intestines and carry out essential tasks to keep you healthy.
Since your gut bacteria line your intestines, they come into contact with the food you eat. This may affect what nutrients you absorb and how energy is stored in your body.
A recent study found that the ratio of two types of bacteria in your intestines may determine how much weight you lose when given a particular diet.
These two bacteria are
Prevotella, which digests fiber and carbohydrates.
Bacteroidetes, which people who eat more animal protein and fat have more of.
Your gut bacteria also digest certain antioxidants found in plants known as flavonoids, which may help prevent weight gain.
Finally, your gut bacteria can influence how dietary fats are absorbed in the intestines, which may affect how fat is stored in the body.
What should I eat to keep my gut healthy?
1. Fibre-rich foods (prebiotics)
Probiotics which contain active bacteria similar to those living in your digestive tract.
Probiotics are live bacteria that, when eaten in correct amounts, can improve our immune system, reduce IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) symptoms, help us to absorb nutrients and kick out the bad bacteria in our gut.
Probiotics can be found in yoghurt and other fermented products (sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha) as well as in capsule form.
Prebiotics are a type of carbohydrate that stays undigested until it reaches the large intestine, where it becomes food for our good gut bacteria!
This means that prebiotics are food for probiotics.
Prebiotics are found in a range of plant foods including onions, cooled pasta and unripe bananas.
3. Fruits and vegetables
As well and pre and probiotics, having enough fibre in our diet is important to keep our gut happy.
Eating regular fruit, vegetables and whole grains will take care of that.
If you want to dig a little deeper, try having 30 different types of fibre a week; difference fibres feed different good bacteria!
Here are some ideas to get you started: Baked beans, Barley, Beetroot, Cashews, Chickpeas, Dates, Garlic, Grapefruit, Green peas, Leek, Lentils, Onion, Pasta, Red kidney beans, Rye bread, Shallots, Spring onion, Snow peas & Watermelon.
If you need an expert advice on your dietary choice, book in an appointment with one of Transformed Dietitians.