Look after your gut

The micro-organisms living in your digestive tract form a very important "inner ecosystem" that influences countless aspects of health, including your weight. More specifically, the type and quantity of organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and may help dictate the ease with which you’re able to shed unwanted kilos.

 Since virtually all of us are exposed to factors that destroy beneficial bacteria in the gut, such as antibiotics (whether you take them for an illness or get them from contaminated animal products), chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, agricultural chemicals and pollution, ensuring your gut bacteria remain balanced should be considered an ongoing process.

 Cultured foods like raw milk yogurt, some cheeses, and fermented vegetables are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria. If you do not eat fermented foods frequently, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is definitely a wise move. In fact, this is one of the few supplements recommended for everyone. A probiotic supplement can be incredibly useful to help maintain a well-functioning digestive system when you stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar, or if you have to take antibiotics.

According to recent research from Denmark, in which they analysed the human gut microbial composition on 292 people (169 of them obese and 123 of healthy weight), a quarter of the participants were found to have 40 percent fewer gut bacteria than the average needed for optimal health. Obese participants were particularly at risk of having too little beneficial bacteria to maintain health. Professor Oluf Pedersen, scientific director at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen said “Our study shows that people having few and less diverse intestinal bacteria are more obese than the rest. They have a preponderance of bacteria which exhibit the potential to cause mild inflammation in the digestive tract and in the entire body, which is reflected in blood samples that reveal a state of chronic inflammation, which we know from other studies to affect metabolism and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

 ...Our intestinal bacteria are actually to be considered an organ just like our heart and brain, and the presence of health-promoting bacteria must therefore be cared for in the best way possible.” 

Reference: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/10/gut-bacteria.aspx