Heal Your Gut To Lose Weight

Did you know that the 100 trillion tiny microbes, a.k.a. gut flora, that call your digestive tract home, play a pivotal role in everything from your immune system —  to your digestion —  to your mood. But, researchers are now convinced that there’s something else your internal ecosystem affects — YOUR WEIGHT!

“The gut is connected to everything,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. If your gut is out of whack, i.e., it doesn’t have enough good bacteria or too much bad bacteria, it can affect how your food is metabolized as well as lead to inflammation. Bad bacteria in the gut can trigger inflammation in your skin, joints, brain, everywhere – and send your body’s immune response into overdrive as it tries to rid the body of the bacteria. This can lead to insulin resistance, which can promote weight gain. The theory is that more good bacteria helps you process food more efficiently and reduces cravings.

The good news is that changes you incorporate today can very quickly (within a few days) begin to overhaul your overall gut health and help efforts to lose weight!  Here’s your action plan:

Avoid processed foods and items high in sugar and carbohydrates. Both sugar and artificial sweeteners can decrease good bacteria levels in the gut.

Fiber can lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and promote weight loss. What’s more, fiber slows the rate at which food enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which it exits your body through the digestive tract, keeping you fuller longer. Here are some great prebiotic fiber sources: Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, and leeks, as well as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds. Aim for 25 grams a day, if not more.

In one study, women who took probiotics for 24 weeks lost 51 percent more weight than those who didn’t. Yogurt and kefir products as well as kimchi, miso and sauerkraut contain live, active cultures. It’s also a smart bet to take a probiotic supplement twice daily. Look for at least 25 billion live CFUs from diversified strains of bacteria.

There is a complex interplay between your hormones and your gut and how they affect one another. Low thyroid function, in particular, can contribute to gut sluggishness.

The bottom line is that nurturing the beneficial creatures in your digestive tract may be the surest route to reaching your healthiest weight. Within a week of following a gut-friendly diet, you will notice a drop in cravings.