With advancements in science and a better understanding of the human microbiome, we are learning just how important gut microbiota is in influencing health and weight. People that have more diversity in their gut microbiota are leaner than people who have less diversity of gut flora.

Our gut flora or microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes, one-third of our gut microbiota is common to most people, while two-thirds are specific to each one of us.

So we are influencing our microbiota with every meal and forming the unique environment that can influence optimal weight. Here are 5 top tips to encourage a more diverse microbiota and with that a leaner body.

  1. Prebiotic foods: are certain high fiber plant foods that help act as a kind fertilizer to help make more probiotics in the gut, some of these are:
    • Onions
    • Bananas
    • Berries
    • Garlic
    • Leeks
    • Artichokes
    • Yams
    • Beans
    • Chicory
    • Oats
  2. Probiotic foods are created largely by fermentation and this process helps to produce good bacteria strains that feed our gut microbiota levels and diversity, these include:
    • Yogurts including dairy/coconut/almond
    • Kefir including dairy/non-dairy
    • Sauerkraut
    • Pickles
    • Bacterially fermented cheeses
    • Kimchi
    • Miso
  3. Emphasizing omega 3’s and 9’s while decreasing omega 6 in your diet is a sure-fire way to melt the pounds via the gut. Obesity has been linked to intake of inflammatory omega 6s and not enough anti-inflammatory omega 3s. This imbalance in fatty acids in the gut produces toxins called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) that trigger inflammation, insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes and therefore, promote weight gain.

    Avoid corn, canola, and soy oil and incorporate more olive oil, avocado oil for cooking and eat your seeds! Chia, flax, sunflower, sesame, hemp, and pumpkin seeds as well as almonds and walnuts, snacking on these sources of healthy omega 3 and 9 will help you get lean and also support heart health.

  4. Take probiotic supplements that contain certain bacteria strains. In a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition women on a weight loss program taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus over a 24 week period had double the weight loss than the placebo group not taking Lactobacillus rhamnosus ..DOUBLE! Those are great stats! Look for probiotics with Lactobacillus rhamnosus as well as lactobacillus Gasseri for extra fat burning support from your daily probiotic.
  5. Avoid the things that can alter gut microbiota away from good bacteria and towards producing more “bad” bacteria that can cause GI distress and reduce diversity like excess sugar, red meat, especially processed meats like lunch deli meats, white flour, and alcohol as well as the overuse of certain OTC medications and overuse of antibiotics, especially without replacing with a probiotic following an antibiotic course.