National Nutrition Week: Struggling to Lose Weight? Your Gut Microbes Can Help
If you’re like over 73% of the world's population and struggle being overweight, you may want to look more closely at the bacteria in your gut.
Our gut microbiome consists of trillions of microbes that live in our bodies. Most of these live in a part of your large intestine called the cecum.
Each person’s gut microbiome is unique, as a microbial fingerprint, and is shaped by both their genetics, lifestyle, eating pattern, the medication one consumes and finally the environment they live in.
Many of these bacteria present in our gut microbiome are essential to our health.
They help with the immune system, digesting food, producing hormones that help manage appetite and synthesizing vitamins and essential nutrients.
Your gut bugs still help regulate metabolism, nutrient absorption, and weight management.
Your gut health influences the production of hunger hormones, including Leptin, Ghrelin, and Peptide YY which controls the feeling of hunger in the body.
An unhealthy gut can mess up the production of these hormones, create a faulty digestive atmosphere, lead to malabsorption of nutrients and minerals, cause inflammation in the body and thereby lead to weight gain.
There are two types of bacteria found in one’s gut microbiome which promotes weight loss and helps a person maintain a healthy weight - A. Muciniphila and Christensenella Minuta.
Both of these are often found in slim individuals. They reinforce the gut lining and modulate one’s metabolism.
One gets plenty of these healthy bacteria from a different coloured fruits and vegetables. In fact, the more colourful your plate looks, the happier your gut microbiome will be.
One can also increase the intake of Cranberries, Black Tea, Fish Oil, Rhubarb and Flaxseeds to kickstart their gut party!
Now the question arises, how can one improve their gut health?
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the Do's and Don’ts you are looking for.
First, the Do's
Exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes a week.
Include whole grains in your diet to increase the fibre content.
Eat fruits and vegetables of various colours regularly.
Nuts and Seeds contain healthy fats which improve your overall gut health.
Make friends with fermented foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi, dhokla, dosa etc.
Eat berries, dark chocolate, coffee and tea to include more polyphenols in your diet.
Eat prebiotic foods such as bananas. Apple, Oats and Asparagus
And the Don'ts
Avoid artificial sweeteners and switch to organic stevia leaves and date sugar to sweeten things up!
Stay away from processed food.
Avoid foods that have high amounts of sugar in them as they lead to the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut.
Bottom line, take care of your gut microbiome not only for losing weight, but maintaining a healthy strong body all year long as an imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the intestines may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and other disorders.
(Aakriti Arora holds a certification from Cornell University, Stanford University & T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Aakriti uses plant based foods which have more nutrients to help her clients lose weight and treat them from any disease.)
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