In this modern age, many people are desiring for a lower weight. They get to try almost every diet or exercise possible to help them achieve their desired weight. It is sometimes hard to balance losing weight and eating healthy and fulfilling food at the same time though. But is there really a way to lose weight and eat healthy, fulfilling food at the same time? Plus, will the food give any other health benefit than can make a huge impact in the body in promoting better health?
What are Probiotics?
You may have heard of probiotics already, but if you haven’t yet, they are live microorganisms that are found in some foods and they function as live nutrients in the body. They also contain a lot of nutrients that have many health benefits.
These probiotics are produced from fermented food products. They can also be called good bacteria. Also, there are times when some yeasts can also work as a probiotic.
There are dozens of probiotics that has health benefits, and each probiotic bacteria has its own specific health benefit. You can just choose which to use that will be sure to take effect based on your health condition.
Also, more than one probiotics can be combined for an even better effect, they are called broad-spectrum probiotics or multi-probiotics.
Importance of Microorganisms in the Body
The human stomach can accommodate huge amounts of microorganisms in it, some are hundreds in number, but they can go up to a thousand based on some studies. Also, there is a term used for these microorganisms in the body; they are called gut flora or microbiota.
The gut flora community is made up of different microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and yeasts. It is mainly composed of bacteria, since they are the most profound microorganisms in the body.
Another fact is that most of the gut flora is situated in the colon, or the large intestine.
Now that we know what a gut flora is, let us now see how it functions in the human body. Since it has proven itself as a promising aspect in the body because of how it performs functions like a body organ, some scientists coined the gut flora as “forgotten organ”.
How the gut flora functions
Here are some of the activities being done by the gut flora:
- The gut flora creates vitamins like vitamin K and some B vitamins.
- The gut flora contributes to the body’s metabolism by turning fibers into short-chain fats to feed the stomach wall. The short-chain fats also contribute to stimulating the immune system and strengthening the gut wall. The strengthening of the gut wall helps block the entering of possible unwanted substances in the body.
The gut flora is composed of a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, and yeasts that do not have the same functions and characteristics. Some of them can cause bad effects in the body, this is where probiotic bacteria do their work.
The probiotics then help in balancing the microorganisms to help the gut flora function properly.
Probiotics and Weight Loss
Studies have shown that the bacteria in the gut flora determines a person’s weight. This means that it is different for everybody, depending on the active microorganisms that comprises their gut flora.
Some probiotics have proven to be effective in weight loss, though more research is needed for these claims.
Here are ways probiotics promote weight loss:
- Some probiotics may obstruct absorption of dietary fats, resulting to an increase in the amount of fat to be excreted from the body through feces. This also means the body is able to get fewer calories from the food in our diets, thus it can help in losing weight.
- Probiotics may also encourage the release of the satiety hormone GLP-1 that is known as the appetite-reducing hormone in the body.
- Probiotics may also aid in the increase of the protein ANGPTL4 that may help decrease the storage of fat in the body.
As a bonus, here’s a list of other health benefits that probiotics can provide:
- Many probiotics were proven to have helped lower cholesterol levels.
- Probiotics may also help in lowering blood pressure.
- Probiotic strains like Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum are tested to help patients with clinical depression. These strains help reduce symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
- Probiotics help reduce inflammations that may cause other diseases.
- Many probiotic strains help boost the function of the body’s immune system, resulting to lower risks from infections.
- Many probiotics were proven to have helped in treatment of some skin problems like acne and eczema, as well as other skin disorders.
Best Probiotics for Weight Loss
Out of all the probiotics that are considered effective for weight loss, the Lactobacillus rhamnosus is the good bacteria that is most relevant. Based on a study performed by researchers from a university in Canada, where the overweight women subjects took two Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics daily resulted to weight loss. This probiotic is commonly found on dairy products, specifically yogurts. Also, the probiotic used in the above mentioned study are probiotic strains that are manufactured by the brand Nestle, which are the main attraction of their yogurt products.
The Lactobacillus family has proven yet again how effective they are in promoting weight loss. The Lactobacillus gasseri was effective in reducing body weight and body fat. A study was conducted wherein the test participants were asked to take Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks, and this resulted to them losing 8.5 percent of their belly fat.
Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus
More probiotics from the Lactobacillus family are proven to be effective as weight loss agents. Based on a study where the participants were told to eat yogurts containing Lactobacillus fermentum or Lactobacillus amylovorus for six weeks, the result of the study was a 3 to 4 percent reduction on the participants’ body fat.
Good Sources of Probiotics
Probiotic bacteria are present in fermented foods. This means, you should eat more of these foods.
When it comes to probiotic content, yogurt tops the list. Moreover, yogurts are the usual go to food for additional good bacteria in the body.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains probiotics. They are manufactured from normal cow or goat milk that has been added with lactic-acid cultured kefir grains.
- Fermented food like sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.
- Traditional Buttermilk