Science is now investigating whether gut health could also be a proponent of obesity. When gut bacteria break down food, chemicals are released into the body. Certain chemicals may prompt the production of fat cells, according to new research.
In theory, if the gut was functioning well, with plenty of good bacteria present to digest food as completely and quickly as possible, the body may produce less fat cells. Research continues in order to pinpoint the connection, as well as, which foods may help or hinder fat cell production while in the gut.
Now, how can we help our guts work better?
Probiotics are live bacteria that stimulate the growth of helpful microorganisms, especially those in your gut. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the two most common probiotics.
Lactobacillus can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. It is best known for helping ease diarrhea and assisting in the processing of lactose (the sugar found in milk.) Bifidobacterium can also be found in some dairy products, and may help ease symptoms of various digestive issues, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS.)
When you consume probiotics, not only will your digestive function benefit, but you will also experience a boost in immunity. An astounding 80% of the body’s immune system is located in the gut! Probiotics can help you fend off all sorts of illnesses, from the common cold to the flu. [see Why Probiotics Are A Must For Type 2 Diabetics]
The digestive system is also a huge part of the body’s neurological system. Chronic fatigue, joint pain, thyroid disease, even psoriasis are all initiated in the gut. With improved gut health, some symptoms of these illnesses could be alleviated.
While probiotics due naturally occur in several foods, some find it helpful to take a probiotic supplement.
First, speak with your healthcare team. Probiotics are safe for most people, although individuals with immune disorders or other serious health conditions may need special consideration. You should always consult with your physician prior to starting new supplements or medications.
When first starting probiotic supplements, you may experience temporary bloating, upset stomach, gas, or diarrhea. These symptoms should resolve within a few days as your digestive system regulates.
Make sure the bottle label states “shelf stable” or “refrigeration not required.” If not, you will have to keep your probiotics in the refrigerator to prevent the bacteria from expiring. Also check the label for potential allergens like dairy, wheat, soy, and gluten.
Also be mindful of the ways in which you can protect the good bacteria already in your gut. Be wary of using antibacterial soap, it will remove any good bacteria along with the bad, and you don’t want to “throw the baby out with the bath water.”
Resist relying on antibiotics for every sneeze and sniffle. Antibiotics devastate the biome of your gut. The purpose of an antibiotic is to kill bacteria. This process is not discriminatory, and severely depletes your body’s store of good bacteria. Think about it – have antibiotics ever “upset your stomach?” Makes sense now doesn’t it?
Set your gut up for success! While eating fermented foods and taking a probiotic supplement will help, concentrate on eating as many healing foods as possible. Ditch the processed and refined foods, and cut sugar and excess starches from your diet. A diet of protein, healthy fats, and fiber makes the gut, and blood sugar, happy!