In a world full of diets, what to eat, what not to eat, and how to lose weight fast, there’s one topic that almost always gets overlooked: the bacteria in your gut. We’re so used to thinking about fighting bad bacteria that we often forget about the good.
Dr Travis Stork, host of the popular American TV series The Doctors, is champion of good bacteria. This is the bacteria that lower risk of developing certain diseases and raise our chances of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
In his new book, The Lose Your Belly Diet, he focuses on how you can improve the beneficial microbes in your own gut by making choices that protect and support your gut bacteria.
Here are 5 easy ways you can change your diet and improve your gut health:
1. Eat high-fibre foods
Did you know your body can’t really digest fibre? It’s the microbes in your gut can, in fact they thrive off it! Without enough fibre, your gut bacteria can start to die off and look for other sources of food, like your intestinal wall, so increasing your daily intake will support your gut and provide them with the fuel they need to do their job. Try to eat high-fibre foods like whole fruits, beans, lentils and hummus.
2. Focus on the green stuff
When we think about protein, the first thing that comes to mind is meat. However, one of the best sources of protein for your gut comes from plants. Focus on eating nuts, beans, peas and lentils, all of which are also good sources of fibre.
3. Concentrate on the prebiotic superstars
In order to support your gut bacteria, focus on nourishing them with raw vegetables. We all know we should be eating more fruit and vegetables but it turns out that people who do eat more have a more diverse range of gut bacteria. So tuck in to as many different colours of raw vegetables as you can to get a varied diet.
4. Don’t forget about the probiotics
Some foods contain the good bacteria you need in your gut, so makes sure they are part of your diet. Most people know yoghurt is a great source of bacteria, but check your labels to make sure there are live and active cultures in it, as not all yoghurt contains living bacteria. Look out for the lesser-known probiotic foods like Kefir and Kimchi, which are on the rise in supermarkets.
5. Eat purer foods
What do we mean by pure foods? We mean organic. Pesticides, and chemicals can wreak havoc on our gut bacteria, so the purer the food the better. Look for organic foods, whether fresh or frozen, to help protect your gut bacteria.
Improving your gut bacteria is a huge step in the right direction if you’re looking to achieve a healthy weight. It won’t magically melt away belly fat, but by focusing on improving your microbes, you’ll feel happier and healthier. To find out more about the The Lose Your Belly Diet, you can preorder Travis’ new book here.