It’s no longer a secret that probiotics are good for you. We know we should have these elusive bacteria in our tummies. But where do we find them? And more importantly, will they help me lose weight? Well, first things first:
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms (microflora) that reside in our bodies, primarily in our digestive tract, and have been heroically acclaimed as the “good” bacteria found in our bodies. We have trillions of these bacteria supporting our body’s ability to absorb nutrients and ward off infections.
What is the benefit of probiotics?
The balance of your gut flora should be approximately 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. If this balance is a bit off, and we have too much of the "bad" and not enough of the "good" bacteria it can cause all sorts of havoc in the body’s systems. The dysfunction can be caused in part by age, genetics, antibiotic use, and an unhealthy diet. This imbalance can lead to diseases of the intestinal tract, including ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, weight gain, skin conditions, constipation or diarrhea, and other various chronic health conditions.
A healthy bacteria balance in the gut, supported by probiotics will result in improved overall health. The benefit of probiotics in maintaining this healthy balance include:
- Improved digestion
- Stronger immune system
- Increased energy from the production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics improve eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu infection potential
- Reduced chances of “leaky” gut and inflammatory bowel disease
Is weight loss a benefit of probiotics?
Likely, yes! It appears that those of us who are overweight may actually have different gut bacteria than those who have healthy body weight, which has been the subject of much research lately. One study from Canada’s own Laval University found that women taking a probiotic supplement for 3-months lost almost twice as much weight as those who didn’t take a supplement (9.7lbs versus 5.7lbs). Even after the 3-month period, the women taking the probiotics continued to slim down, losing 1.8 more pounds, on average. Probiotics may help you lose weight because they make your digestive tract less “leaky”, meaning fewer molecules that contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and glucose intolerance are able to enter your bloodstream. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
How do I get more probiotics in my diet?
To keep your tummy happy, and your weight loss journey on track, choose foods and supplements each day that are naturally abundant in probiotics. You can start by choosing some of our favourites below:
Yogurt:The most popular probiotic food is live-cultured yogurt. Yogurt in most cases can rank at the top of probiotic foods if it comes from grass-fed animals and has not been pasteurized. Give our Fruit and Yogurt Parfait a try!
Kefir:Kefir is a fermented dairy product that’s been consumed for more than 3,000 years — and for good reason! It contains anywhere from 10 to 34 strains of probiotics, and because it is fermented with yeast and more bacteria, the final product is even higher in probiotics.
Cultured Vegetables (Sauerkraut and Kimchi):Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage and Kimchi is its close cousin. Both are high in enzymes and acidity, which promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Apple Cider Vinegar:Great for controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and even weight loss, apple cider vinegar is a great daily addition that will bring many benefits — including providing probiotics. Try a tablespoon in some warm water with honey at night for even more benefits from this natural remedy. We recommend Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar because it contains the “mother,” which provides your body with the most benefits.
Kombucha:Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years, originating in Japan. The primary health benefits include digestive support, increased energy, and liver detoxification.
Supplements:Each of us, ideally, would include a small amount of naturally fermented food in our diet each day. But that isn't always convenient or possible, and that's when a probiotic supplement can provide additional support. Here are a few probiotic supplements to consider adding to your nutrient support routine.
Now that you’re all brushed up on the benefits of probiotics and how they will support you on your weight loss journey, will you be adding some of these “superfoods” to your diet?
Here are some Herbal Magic recipes that contain some of the probiotic-packed ingredients:
- Our Classic Waldorf Salad contains a yogurt-based dressing
- Our Pineapple Chicken Salad also has a yogurt-based dressing
- Our Tzatziki Dip is yogurt based
- Our Layered Dip has a yogurt layer
- Our Roasted Squash and Vegetable Quinoa has an apple cider vinegar dressing
- Our Pumpkin Spice Smoothie contains yogurt to add some creaminess