Want to shed a few pounds? Try adding probiotics to your diet…

Recent studies show that maintaining healthy gut flora is key to achieving your optimal size.

Weight problems can actually indicate an unhealthy digestive tract. Two studies in particular revealed that gut bacteria vary significantly between those who are obese and those who are thin. The first study showed that overweight people have about 20% more of the “bad” bacteria and 90% less of the “good” when compared to their lean counterparts.

Good news!
In the second study, the overweight group drank 200 grams of fermented milk with probiotic Lactobacillus every day for 12 weeks. As a result, the participants experienced a 5% reduction in their stomach fat as well as a 3% reduction of their subcutaneous fat, which is situated underneath the skin.

The results make perfect sense: foods high in sugar and unhealthy fat fuel the growth of bad bacteria. These same kinds of foods also play a large role in initial weight gain.

The Power of Probiotics
In addition to keeping your weight down, probiotics can have a positive impact on the following ailments:

  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Autism

Recent studies have shown that healthy bacteria can even slow the aging process. If you’re over 60, probiotics become even more critical since the amount of beneficial bacteria in your body decreases with age. When taken regularly, probiotics can actually increase the level of disease fighting white cells in people over 60.

Despite their benefits, many people refrain from buying probiotics because of their cost. Luckily, probiotic supplements are not the only way to restore a healthy digestive tract. Cultures and fermented foods are less expensive and make great additions to many meals.

Adding the foods below to your diet can help regulate your gut flora:

  1. Fermented Vegetables – Sauerkraut, Kimchi (fermented cabbage), collards, kale, and celery
  2. Lassi – Indian yogurt drink
  3. Tempeh – Similar to dense veggie burgers, tempeh is made from cooked fermented soybeans
  4. Natto – Strong flavored Japanese delicacy, rich in beneficial bacteria
  5. Fermented Raw Milk Such As Kefir Or Yogurt – Always choose organic yogurt with live cultures, avoid generic yogurts which are high in sugar and/or artificial sweeteners

Besides eating foods rich in healthy bacteria, you should avoid eating those that encourage the growth of bad bacteria.

Simple lifestyle choices can also help your gut flora stay balanced. Avoid antibiotics when possible as well as antibacterial soaps and chlorinated water. If possible, try reducing your exposure to pesticides since healthy bacteria are sensitive to toxins.

The state of your digestive tract acts reflects your overall health. Keeping it balanced will keep your body and mind in shape. Whether you want to lose weight or improve your overall health, eating foods rich in beneficial bacteria or taking probiotic supplements can give you great results.

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REFERENCES
(1) www.articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/18/good-gut-bacteria-may-help-fight-obesity.aspx
(2) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20216555
(3) www.articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/08/01/probiotics-for-optimal-gut-flora.aspx