Healthy Gut and Healthy Weight

Dr. Tanya Hudson
Tanya in garden with basket
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So, if you don’t already know this about me, I am a little obsessed with the gut microbiome.  It fascinates me. 

Think of the gut microbiome as a beautiful garden, made up of over 100 trillion bacterial cells (and 500 species!).  Insane!  It even acts as its own organ.

Our gut microbiome is at the center of our whole health and research into the gut microbiome is EXPLODING! 

This friendly gut bacteria is crucial for our overall health and well-being.

Researchers have found that individual bacterial species have an impact on our mood, neurological system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and more.

So why does a Healthy Gut = a Healthy Weight?  Read on..

Some cool facts:

  1. Certain strains of probiotic bacteria in the gut contribute to a healthy metabolism, appetite control, immune health, and help us stay calm and happy.  The saying “your gut is your second brain” is spot on.  Neurotransmitters, like serotonin, are made directly in the gut. 
  2. Certain bacteria can affect levels of GABA, a key neurotransmitter helping to reduce anxiety.  GABA is known for its calming effects.  How does anxiety change your eating habits?  More chocolate and pizza?  Or less?
  3. There is a link between obesity and prolonged usage of antibiotics, which modify the gut microbiome  
  4. Increased gut permeability (AKA “leaky gut”) can contribute to weight gain through impaired nutrient absorption and increased food intolerances.
  5. Poor digestion, often secondary to insufficient chewing, low acid in the stomach, or a deficiency of digestive enzymes, can also contribute to gut permeability and inflammation.  This inflammation activates the immune system, possibly contributing to weight gain as the body does not want to release excess weight when in a state of stress.
  6. Other possible offenders of poor weight management?  Antibacterial soaps and cleaners, chronic high stress, refined sugars (reduces the abundance of gut bacteria), and processed foods. 

Wish there was a magic probiotic strain to help you lose weight?  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. 

What really makes a difference is eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies (aiming for 30 plant varieties a week) to expose us to a number of probiotic strains, such as christensenella and akkermansia.

Three ways to boost your gut microbiome.

  1. Eat real, whole foods and avoid boxed, processed, and fried.  Get rid of fast food. 
  2. Aim for 30 plant varieties a week with lots of color!
  3. Enjoy fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and miso, as they are an excellent source of probiotics.