Probiotics are rapidly achieving the status of super-foods, and with good reason.
The health of your gut flora can have a big impact on your general health and well-being, affecting everything from the way that you think to how hungry you feel, and how easily you lose weight.
The British Journal of Nutrition recently published the results of a study conducted by a team of Japanese researchers on the subject of probiotics and weight loss.
The researchers took 210 overweight people, and divided them into three groups. One group was given a daily serving of fermented milk, and the other two groups were given different amounts of milk with the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri mixed in.
They were monitored for twelve weeks, and it was found that the people who were taking the probiotic lost more visceral fat, and more belly fat, than the control group.
How Probiotics Work
Probiotics augment the natural flora in your intestines. The thought of living things being in your gut may seem repulsive, but probiotics are actually an essential part of your digestive system. Those enzymes help to break down nutrients in your food, aiding the digestive process.
Without them we would develop all manner of health problems.
Why are they good for weight loss?
Probiotics are not a miracle cure for being overweight, and you will still need to watch your calorie intake and get plenty of exercise, but eating probiotics can help to kick-start your weight loss.
It is thought that having a good balance of flora in your gut can help to prevent your body from absorbing calories from fat. Your liver naturally secretes bile salts which break down fat and make it easier for your body to absorb and digest it. The lactobacillus bacteria destroy those bile salts, and thereby help to reduce the amount of calories you take up from fat.
In a way, probiotics act like Proactol and other weight loss drugs, however they have much more subtle effects. You won't see results that are as dramatic as the results from drugs that completely block fat absorption, but if you are already moderating your fat intake then the benefits should be apparent.
If you stick with a probiotic rich diet, you will enjoy numerous health benefits, and should find that the weight you lose will stay off in the long-term, unlike weight loss from highly restrictive diets.
How To Increase Your Probiotic Intake
There are several ways that you can increase your probiotic intake. One option is to eat yogurt or drink milk with probiotics in it. You can also eat fermented vegetables, or Japanese dishes such as Natto, which are rich in highly beneficial bacteria that help to regulate your gut flora.
Another option is to take probiotic supplements. Supplements can be helpful if you don't like the taste of probiotic foods, or if you simply want a fast and convenient way to boost your gut flora without having to make drastic changes to your diet.
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