Posted on 04/26/2016 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By Dr. Lisa Metzgar, PhD:
It is the time of year that most of us look at the scale and realize that summer is coming…which means bathing suit weather. Spring is a great time to change your diet if you have a weight loss goal. After hibernating all winter eating comfort foods, your body might need a little tune up to shed that winter weight.
Instead of thinking about crash dieting, think about how you can make healthier choices to balance your body. One key to losing weight could be the collection of microorganisms that reside in your gut.(1) Your gut microbiome is a combination of many strains of bacteria that when out of balance can wreck havoc on your health and prevent you from dropping those extra pounds. In the past few years there has been much research about how our gut health can affect our general health and help us to stay trim.
When your gut microbiome is out of balance (which means there are more “bad” bacteria residing in our gut than beneficial bacteria) this can trigger unhealthy food cravings and inflammation in our body which can lead to weight gain and a host of other health problems. When the microbiome is out of balance, then our food isn’t as able to be converted into digestible nutrients. There is evidence that obesity has a strong link to balanced microbiome.(2)
Good news, you can affect your gut bacteria quickly (both good and bad) with diet and supplementation. Here are my top 4 tips for balancing your gut microbiome.
- Incorporate fermented foods into your diet.
Eating fermented foods is extremely beneficial for colonizing healthy gut bacteria. While probiotics supplements only have about 10 billion colony-forming units, fermented foods like fermented vegetables, kefirs, and yogurts (of course the varieties without sugar) have as much as 10 trillion colony-forming units per serving.(3) You can purchase fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kamucha tea, or kefir or it is pretty easy to make your own.
- Eat foods with resistant starch.
Resistant-starch is a type of carbohydrate that resists being digested in the stomach and small intestine. When it reaches the colon it feeds your good bacteria.(4) You can add resistant starch by cooking potatoes and cooling them before eating or you can just add a teaspoon of unmodified potato starch to your evening water.
- Cut back on sugar!
Studies show that a diet high in sugar leads to an imbalance in your microbiome, making it hard to lose weight.(5)
- You’ve heard about PRObiotics, but think about taking PREbiotics too.
Prebiotics help feed and nourish the beneficial bacteria in your stomach. Foods high in prebiotics include asparagus, onions and cashews. It’s not always easy to get enough prebiotics in your daily diet so taking supplements may help. With most prebiotic supplements like inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), research shows you need 8 to 40 grams(6) (that means 4 to 20, pills at 500 mg!) to get an efficacious dosage. However, EpiCor has been shown in sophisticated digestive models to act like a prebiotic at just 500 mg (one pill) for adults – plus it is one of the best immune system supplements! Taking a prebiotic supplement and eating healthy foods will help keep your gut healthy and happy. (Learn more about Prebiotics VS. Probiotics)
I have seen some great results with my clients who want to lose weight by making these changes in their diets. Instead of thinking about weight loss as a depravation process, try thinking about things you can add that will benefit your body. In the long run, you will be healthier and slimmer if you think about balancing your body instead of crash dieting just to fit into that bathing suit.