So many people are chronically trying to lose weight, and yet the obesity rate climbs. There seems to be a piece missing from the puzzle. Inside your digestive tract are trillions of bacteria that play a crucial role in not only your digestive and immune health, but also your overall health; including your weight. Each of us has a unique balance of bacteria that either protects us and keeps us healthy or leaves us susceptible to disease. That same balance can contribute to either weight gain or or to weight loss. When your gut bacteria are out of balance, you gain weight. Conversely, when you balance your gut by eating the right foods (and avoiding the wrong foods), you lose weight, reduce cravings, ditch digestive upsets, boost immunity, reduce inflammation…and feel great.
At the heart of that digestive balance we find good bacteria. These are the beneficial microbes found in a healthy digestive tract that work in many ways to keep you healthy. By eating living foods that contain good bacteria (probiotics) and foods that feed them (prebiotics), you can achieve a balanced gut.
There are two main groups (phyla) of bacteria in the gut:
The firmicutes are better able to help you extract calories from food and therefore cause you to accumulate more fat than the bacteroidetes. Simply put, for weight loss, you want to increase bacteroidetes and decrease firmicutes in your gut.
There are also two smaller groups (genera) that are beneficial to our health:
Bifodo are acquired during infancy and by eating certain foods throughout life. They are found in highest amounts in a healthy colon and they protect us against infection, boost our immune function,help keep us regular, and produce certain vitamins and nutrients. Lacto are obtained during birth and also by eating certain foods. They are found throughout the digestive tract but are most frequently associated with the small intestine. They help our immune and digestive systems function well, and are also found in the vaginal tract where they establish bacterial balance by producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide to maintain a healthy pH level there. Both protect us against overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. They do this by crowding out the bad thereby promoting a healthy balance.
These and other beneficial bacteria from the bacteroidetes group can be increased by eating foods that feed these while starving the bad. The end result will be a gut in balance that will help you lose then maintain an optimal weight and stay healthier in general. Digestive health is the foundation of total body health.