Can’t lose that belly fat? Blame your belly! Most Americans eat a high-fat and low-fiber diet full of preservatives, pesticides and additives. Combined with poor sleep quality, chronic stress, lack of exercise, aging and taking a ton of prescription medications including antibiotics, it’s no wonder why we don’t feel at our best. All these issues disrupt the natural balance of your digestive system, letting unhealthy bacteria like Candida yeast take over. Using a probiotic can regrow healthy bacteria in your digestive tract, increasing your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and revitalize your body. Since your gut influences your mood, immune system and even appetite-suppressing hormones, a healthy gut is key to weight loss!
Symptoms that you need a probiotic:
The gut-brain connection:
Could what goes on in your colon really impact your energy level and mood and vice versa? Yes! The gut contains 95% of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which controls mood. There are direct gut-brain nerve connections and 60-80% of your immune system exists in your gut. When people are stressed out or anxious, they often have gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation or upset stomach. The most common case of this is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also works the other way. When the gut lining is blocked by waste or yeast or damaged by toxins and harmful bacteria, the gut cannot produce neuropeptides, leading to symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome as well as moodiness and fatigue. When you’re tired and cranky, you’re going to skip the gym and pig out on comfort food. Replenishing the colon with the healthy bacteria found in probiotics can improve the health of both your gut and your brain and help you keep the pounds off.
The gut-weight loss connection:
The bacteria in your gut do many things: they break down toxins, digest food, stimulate the immune system, form a barrier against harmful bacteria and parasites and produce several vitamins and amino acids. Every person differs in the number and variety of bacteria in their gut, which can be responsible for why some people can’t lose weight easily and others can. A study released in May 2011 found giving probiotics to rats prevented obesity and reduced inflammation. Promoting optimal gut health with a probiotic may work in the same way to help you lose weight. Studies have also found that probiotics can reduce the appearance of belly bloating by increasing intestinal mobility.
Probiotic or yogurt:
Hate the taste of yogurt or want to skip all that extra sugar and calories? Some probiotic supplements contain over 9 billion living probiotic cells, more than 5 times the active cultures normally found in yogurt. Look for probiotic brands designed to survive the acidic environment of your stomach and make it to your intestines. Good brands also contain prebiotics, nutrients that the probiotic healthy bacteria need to survive and grow.
*image courtesy of iStockphoto.com