A robust gut microbiome is one of the biggest secrets to maintain optimum health and one of the major keys to unlock weight loss. A lot of research done recently has revealed the significance of the gut in not just maintaining good digestive health, but also its undisputed role in regulating many essential physiological functions – from hormonal to mental health no less. The gut is actually called the second brain and that’s because there are direct nerve connections between the brain and gut.
Do you know that there are over a 100 trillion bacteria, from 25o different species, residing in your gut right now, weighing approximately 2.5 kg of the total body weight! These bacteria that constitute the gut microbiome influence metabolism, immunity, nutrition, weight, and any disruption to the gut ecosystem can affect all of them. From thyroid to estrogen, melatonin, and cortisol – gut microbiome has a huge impact on these hormones. So, your gut has a big say in whether you are going to be in a good mood or get a good night’s sleep tomorrow. Here’s one more interesting fact – did you know the gut produces 95% of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, healing, digestion, sleep, etc. So, if you are in a good mood today, thank your gut. 😛 But what is interesting is that a robust gut microbiome helps with weight loss by boosting metabolism, absorbing nutrients better, and encouraging fat metabolism. In addition, a healthy gut can help to regulate appetite and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. This is because the gut produces hormones such as ghrelin, which send signals to the brain when we are full. All these above factors add up and make losing weight much easier (considering you are also on a calorie-deficit diet and physically active as well). Talking about lunch, it’s such an important meal of the day since skipping lunch may lead to overeating at dinner time, which is when the metabolism has slumped down in preparation for rest and sleep. So, let’s build our gut health by consuming gut-friendly food combos at lunch to accelerate our weight loss journey.
Which Type of Food Makes Gut Happy?
There’s a lot of buzz on how the gut microbiome should be considered a human organ considering its crucial in running essential physiological processes. But a larger section of scientists argue that it’s more of a symbiotic relationship between the gut microbiota and human body where the host provides a conducive environment for the bacteria (250 species of them) to flourish and in exchange, they make our immune system strong, regulate hormones, improve wound healing, and helps to extract nutrients out of food and supply them to the body. Unfortunately, use of certain medications like antibiotics, sedentary lifestyle, wrong food choices, chronic stress can disrupt the flora of gut and that’s why we need to feed the gut bacteria with the right kind of food to help the healthy gut bacteria flourish.
What’s the Connection with Healthy Gut and Weight Loss?
Research has revealed that certain type of gut bacteria improve fat metabolism, reduce inflammation, and help with better absorption of nutrients. They also impact functioning of important hormones like thyroid, cortisol that may contribute to weight gain. So, as we mentioned above, a robust gut has a big say in whether you would gain weight or lose weight. Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kefir are probiotic-rich food that’s slowly gaining popularity in India, but there are so many amazing Indian food sources that the gut thrives on. Let’s check them out, especially the ones that you can have at lunch.
Fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, anti-inflammatory foods – a combination of these keeps the gut happy, healthy, and robust.
1. Prebiotics: Prebiotics pass through the digestive system undigested and become food for the healthy bacteria in the gut. Including prebiotic-rich foods in your diet can help improve gut health and digestion. Garlic, onions, apples, flaxseeds, chia seeds, lentils, beans, chickpeas, green peas are some examples of prebiotic sources.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Inflammation is an immune response to injury or infection, but when the body is in a continuous state of inflammation, it becomes chronic and create various health issues and obesity is just one of the problems. Chronic inflammation can trigger insulin resistance, in which state the body becomes less response to insulin, which not only regulates blood sugar level, it also facilitates storage of fat in the body. When insulin resistance sets in, the body pumps out extra insulin to stabilize blood sugar, and while doing so, pushes extra calories to be stored as fat. Inflammation also leads to leptin resistance, a hormone which regulates appetite and metabolism. Most importantly, chronic inflammation alters gut microbiome, decreasing the number of healthy bacteria – which in turn contributes to weight gain. So, it becomes essential to include anti-inflammatory foods as part of a healthy diet to lower inflammation, increase healthy bacteria, and promote weight loss. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna, leafy greens like spinach, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, nuts like almond and chia seeds, spices like turmeric, and oils like olive oil are all anti-inflammatory food sources. Also read: “10 Foods with Healthy Fats That Help with Weight Loss.”
3. Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and support digestive health. Strains of probiotics like Lactobacillus gasseri (a strain of probiotic that has been shown to reduce body weight, waist circumference), and Lactobacillus fermentum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum have shown to reduce body weight and improve glucose metabolism. Yogurt, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, fermented vegetables, tempeh, kefir, pickles are all good sources of probiotics.
So, let’s see how we can find food combos that’s great for gut health as well.
1. Greek Yogurt Along with Chickpea Salad: Greek yogurt is rich in protein and probiotics – a great combination when trying to lose weight. Greek yogurt also adds a lot of creaminess to a simple vegetable soup. You can also made a creamy topping with Greek yogurt for yummy chickpea salad with veggies such as cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, and boiled chickpeas (source of prebiotics). Before we forget to mention, in summers, buttermilk (a good source of probiotics) would make a refreshing drink instead of sugar-rich cola drinks.
2. Quinoa Salad with Pickles: Make yourself a healthy bowl of quinoa salad with gut-friendly ingredients like spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado (source of healthy fats that fight inflammation), and onions and have it along with just a bit of home-made pickle of your choice. The soluble fiber (Arabinans and homogalacturonans) in quinoa act as prebiotic to feed the gut bacteria and pickles are a good source of probiotics.
3. Lentil Soup with Sourdough Bread: Lentil soup made with ingredients such as lentils, carrots, potatoes, parsley, tomato, pumpkin, onion, and cooked in olive oil and had along with sourdough bread and Greek yogurt on the side is the right combination of prebiotics (lentils) probiotics (Greek yogurt) and anti-inflammatory (olive oil) components.
4. Salad with Onion, Tomato, Carrot, Cucumber, Olive Oil: It takes just a few minutes to put together a salad with onion, tomato, carrot, cucumber, topped with olive oil which is one of the best anti-inflammatory oils out there. Tomato, carrot onion are wonderful sources of prebiotics, and full of nutrients too.
5. Brown Rice with Chickpeas or Green Peas Curry: Brown rice is a good source of complex carbs, antioxidants (that fights inflammation), vitamins, minerals like calcium and zinc, and fiber. Green peas and chickpeas are good sources of protein and fiber as well. This combination provides ample fiber to the gut bacteria.
Summing up, boosting the gut health by eating the right kind of food can remove the resistance to weight loss to a great degree. The hormones critical to weight loss are impacted by a great degree by the gut bacteria and that’s why we need to include gut-friendly foods, you can find such foods on diet plans on the Rati Beauty app. Subscribe to the Rati Beauty diet for your weight loss diet plans.
7 Important Facts You Must Know About Probiotics
10 Foods with Healthy Fats That Help with Weight Loss