Did you know that your human cells are actually outnumbered 10 to 1 by the bacteria in your gut?You are actually more bacteria than human being! And that’s why the composition of the bacteria in your gut majorly affects not only your gut health but also the health of your entire body.
Research shows that the health of your gut is linked to a whole range of chronic health conditions as well as how you digest your food and your mental health. It has also been linked to obesity in some really interesting studies that are starting to emerge as scientists are beginning to learn more about exactly how your microbiome affects your immune system, mood, and ability to lose weight.
Did you know that your gut actually has more neurotransmitters than your brain? This is why the health of your gut can affect your mood and mental health and why stress and lack of sleep can affect the health of your gut. An unhealthy gut can cause mood swings and depression, which can lead to emotional eating and can even cause cravings.
The microbiome of a healthy person is vastly different in composition to that of an obese person. It has been found that your gut bacteria can actually influence not only how many calories you absorb from your food, but how much fat you store.
A really interesting study was conducted on mice to show the role that gut bacteria has in contributing to weight gain. The researchers took the gut bacteria from human twins, one healthy and one obese and transferred these into healthy mice. What they found was that the mouse that had been transferred bacteria from the healthy twin stayed a healthy weight, while the mouse that was transferred the bacteria from the obese twin quickly started putting on weight.
So what affects the health of your gut microbiome?
Well, a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars can contribute to an imbalance in gut bacteria as can environmental toxins, stress, and pharmaceutical drugs.
What can I do to improve my gut health?
These are the four most important things you can do to improve the health of your gut.
1. Eat Prebiotics
Confused as to the difference between probiotics and prebiotics? While both are great for your gut health, probiotics are foods, which contain healthy bacteria. Prebiotics, on the other hand, can be explained as an indigestible food source (high fiber foods) for the good bacteria already in your gut. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of good bacteria and can, in doing so, have a whole range of health benefits. Some great prebiotic foods to add to your diet include asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, cabbage, leeks, and root vegetables.
2. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are an awesome source of probiotics that along with prebiotics help to restore balance in your gut and develop a healthy composition of bacteria. Some great fermented foods to try include sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled vegetables, organic tempeh, and kefir.
3. Reduce Sugar & Processed Foods & Add in Healthy Fats & Greens
Replacing refined sugars and processed foods that cause havoc in your gut with healthy fats and leafy greens will transform your gut health and help you finally shed the pounds.
4. Stress Less and Sleep More
Stress has a really massive impact on the health of your gut microbiome. So taking the time to do some stress busting activities such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can really kick-start your gut healing process. Sleep is also super important to restoring your gut bacteria composition and also has a range of other health benefits.
Could your gut health be what’s stopping you from losing weight? I would love to hear your story in the comments below as well as any of your favorite tips that I may have missed!
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