The secret to weight loss via your gut
“I have a gut feeling about this!”
“I feel butterflies in my stomach!”
“I feel nervous in my tummy!”
Well, how many times have you heard all these phrases? Is there something in your gut that tells us what’s right and what’s wrong? Is there something within us that guides us and control various things in our body?
Well, definitely yes! There’s more to this gut feeling. However, it might be confusing for some people to realize and react to this feeling. The surety level might vary from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.
Where and what is the Gut?
So, let us understand where and what is the “Gut”!
In scientific terms, the gastrointestinal system, also called the digestive system, digestive tract, gastrointestinal tract, or gut, is a group of organs that includes the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, liver, mouth, pancreas, rectum, small intestine, and rectum. The gut serves various important roles in protecting and sustaining the overall wellness and health of our bodies, beginning from the intake and absorption of water and nutrients. On a whole, it is a digestive process that provides the building blocks the body requires to function, to live, and to stay healthy.
How the GUT and metabolism are interrelated:
When we look at the above scientific view of the gut, we immediately get an idea that the gut is related to the digestive system. And hence, it certainly has an association with our metabolism.
Understanding the gut and metabolism scientifically:
To put it in smart words, the microbial community of the gut provides vital advantages to the host physiology. Okay! Don’t be dazzled by the use of such trivial terms. In layman’s language, the gut influences the metabolism of the person. Over time, a clear relationship has been established between the host metabolism and gut bacteria. The microbial-mediated hormone released by the gut plays a significant role here. This particular hormone influences various aspects of the body. Now, within the gut lumen, the bacteria produce various metabolites and possess structural components that act as signaling molecules to several cell types within the mucosa. Enteroendocrine cells, that lay within the mucosal lining of the gut synthesize and secrete various hormones including CCK, PYY, GLP-1, GIP, and 5-HT, which have regulatory roles in prime metabolic processes such as fat storage, appetite, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance. Release of these hormones can be influenced by the presence of bacteria and their metabolites within the gut and as such, microbial-mediated gut hormone release is a significant component of microbial regulation of host metabolism. Dietary or pharmacological interventions which alter the gut microbiome hence pose as potential therapeutics for the treatment of human metabolic disorders. This review objectifies to describe the complex interaction between intestinal microbiota and their metabolites and gut enteroendocrine cells, and highlight how the gut microbiome can influence host metabolism via the regulation of gut hormone release.
Understanding the gut and metabolism in layman’s language:
Okay! Now enough of the science and let’s get to understand it in a fun way.
Primarily, the gut is the communication center for the brain! Yes, it is like the gut talks to the brain directly, for ensuring optimal digestion and also various other health functions. So, yes, the gut and the brain must be on great talking terms.
Hence, it is also said that the brain is also a part of the gastrointestinal system because the gut and brain are in constant communication. The gut talks to the brain and provides the necessary information. Next, the brain decides when what, how fast, and how much to drink and eat. So, it is like teamwork here by the brain and the gut!
For instance, let’s consider a specific fatty meal, the brain and gut will talk it out and decide to hold that food in the stomach for a little more time as compared to a lighter meal. Once the food has been broken down appropriately, it will be sent to the small intestine for further processes.
Moreover, the gut and brain also play important roles in our mood, state of mind, and stress level.
So, these two friends decide on how you feel on day to day basis, how exciting is that? The gut may tell the brain of a stressor, and the brain will do the same thing for the gut.
As a matter of fact, not only is the gut filled with nerve cells that get and give information to the brain but also the gut produces more than 90% of the serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a hormone that helps to regulate our emotions or mood. So you can just think about how the gut influences our daily lives and the way we feel?
And that’s why, when we visit the doctors, they do ask us if we are taking stress or not because everything is interrelated. Stress can cause adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract and the body as a whole. Stress can lead to bloating or chronic nausea and can be a trigger for exacerbation of symptoms or disease flares in people who have inflammatory bowel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastrointestinal conditions. Stress affects the gut and the gut can influence the entire body. Hence, doctors recommend avoiding stress on all levels for maintaining a healthy body. And that’s how the body and brain are related!
A healthy gut can help you to keep the body healthy in the long run. The overall well-being of the body can be ensured with a good functioning gut and a happy relationship between the brain and the gut.
The gut is one of the core disease-fighting systems of the body.
Hence, there are various advantages of the gut, which we must be aware of! Let us look at them now.
Advantages of a strong core/gut:
Gut. The core function can reap you an array of benefits. Primarily, it is the best health insurance that we could invest in!
When you nurture your gut and take optimum care of it, it functions healthily, thereby keeping us fit and fine. When we look after our microbiome, which refers to our gut and gut bug health, in turn, it will make sure that we are in the pink of our health. Hence, it goes both ways, you taking care of the gut and the gut taking care of you, in return.
This gut army that marches in our stomach must function steadily and smoothly for keeping us marching properly. One must consider gut health as a priority as it affects more aspects of a person’s life than one might think.
Did you know that millions and millions of bacteria, fungi, and other organisms live inside your gut, basically your colon and your intestine?
Oh yes, we know that might be shocking for you to think of it and creepy as well. But that’s true! And, with the help of these good bacteria, you are surviving as they assist in making your body work properly. This microbiome help in food digestion and getting the nutrients from them that you are can’t produce yourself.
And that’s not enough! They do a lot more than that. They play a significant role in determining your weight (metabolism), having major effects on your mood, and making your immune system work appropriately. On a whole, they provide you nutrients you require to survive on, keeping you healthy, and making you feel happy.
So, you can just imagine how important this gut is?
It makes you feel happy.
It provides you with nutrients.
It makes your immune system work.
It keeps your healthy.
Do you want to know more capabilities of the gut? Here goes:
Gut Bacteria –
This power-packed bacterium hugely affects your appetite! It determines how many nutrients and kilojoules you absorb from the food you eat. Hence, a healthy person has a large variety of healthy gut bacteria.
The connection between the gut and the brain –
As studied earlier in this article, there is a robust connection between the gut and the brain, through something known as the vagus nerve.
So if you are feeling anxious or nervous or depressed, it has a direct link with your digestive problems. Hence, your gut health affects your mood, and if the balance is disturbed, it could lead to mood disturbances and chronic depression.
Immune Connect –
You know your immune system never sleeps right? It’s on a constant guard against any attacks against you. And factually, 80% of your immune tissue is found in your gut. It does not just protect you against the junk in the food you have eaten but also the germs surrounding. It keeps the entire system ticking over.
Foods and habits that benefit your gut and helps you lose weight:
Probiotic foods are a boon to your gut! So, what are probiotic foods? Pickles, Traditional buttermilk, olives, natto, kimchi, kombucha, non-pasteurized cultured vegetables, olives, cheese made from raw milk, and yogurt that have the good bacteria to keep your running!
However, it is advised to speak to your doctor about including probiotic food in your diet, especially when you are on antibiotics.
And if your doctor gives a thumbs-up, then let us tell you probiotics helps immensely in weight loss as well. There are a whole lot of choices in probiotics apart from yogurts such as raw leeks, raw garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas, beans, chicory, raw dandelion greens, and onions. Moreover, a lot more food choices are included in the probiotic arena and if you are open to supplements, they are there as well.
However, we do not suggest supplements as we prefer the path of “Let food be thy medicine”.
For a good gut, fiber is the way to go, my friend. Eating nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals, fruits, and vegetables can go a long way to keeping your gut healthy. Whole grains are grains that are not refined. They are optimally high in fiber, which is digested properly by the healthy gut bacteria like Bifidobacteria and may help in weight loss. Even vegetables and fruits possess various fibers beneficial for gut bacteria. When you eat an assortment of plant-based foods, it can improve the diversity of gut bacteria, which is associated with a healthy weight. Also, seeds and nuts have a lot of healthy fats and fiber which assists the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Polyphenol-rich foods are the way to go!
Are you wondering what are these foods? Well, let us tell you, we are talking about dark chocolate and green tea here. Yes, dark chocolate is beneficial and you can go about and order them for yourself. These foods cannot be digested alone but are broken down by the advantageous gut bacteria, thereby promoting the growth of good bacteria.
Say no to junk!
Oh, sadly, junk is a strict no-no if you want to have a healthy gut. Junk foods and foods that are high in bad fats put a lot of strain on the gut. It is recommended to cut down on these foods to protect your gut.
Apart from the foods, it is crucial to take care of your stress levels too!
Bid goodbye to stress!
We suggest keeping this tip on high priority! Stress is not only harmful to your gut but also your overall wellbeing. Find ways to cut down on those stress levels by getting regular sleep and avoiding alcohol altogether. Moreover, get some exercise to keep yourself alive and kicking.
Furthermore, you must avoid unhealthy fats, artificial sweeteners, and sugary foods to avoid chronic health disorders and high blood sugar. The unhealthy fats could cause the growth of disease-causing bacteria which you must avoid at all costs.
Once you adopt these tips and tricks, a healthy gut can help you in the long term in various ways.