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How to Boost Your Metabolism Through Gut Health

By Sayuri Barritt RD CD, 7/30/23

There are trillions of bacteria living in our gut. They play a key role in our vital functions including producing nutrients, neurotransmitters, and hormones for optimal health, and support immunity, and metabolism.


Both animal and human studies show promising evidence that microbiome are beneficial to our metabolism and weight loss. But how do they make an impact on our health and weight? Here are some of the research findings.


Are there specific microbiomes that help your weight loss?


Current research reveals key microbiomes that are involved in our metabolism, hunger hormones, and energy consumption, which are all associated with our weight. But how can they really help with weight loss? Let's take a look at some of the health-promoting bacteria.

  • Bacteroides - protect the intestinal cells and immune cells by creating a protective mucus-rich barrier in the intestine, which help reduce inflammation in the body. They also supply other health-promoting bacteria with nutrients[1].

  • Lactobacillus gasseri - minimize the absorption of dietary fats, which contributes to reduction in waistline and visceral fats[2]. They also help regulate the immune cells and their inflammatory secretions, which reduces inflammatory conditions.

  • Prevotella - helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels, which can reduce the risk of developing diabetes [3].


Here are some molecules that your gut bacteria produce to keep you healthy: tyet. Although we still need to do more experiments on gut microbiomes, we are getting a better understanding of the microbiome and their byproducts, which exert various health benefits. After the fermentation of fiber and prebiotics, these gut bacteria produce compounds called postbiotics. Postbiotics have many health benefits including reducing inflammation, improving the gut lining, and increasing metabolism just to name a few.

Here are some molecules that your gut bacteria produce to keep you healthy:

  • Short-chain fatty acids - produced by bacterial fermentation of fiber and sugar in the intestine. This substance is used by the intestinal cells as energy fuel, keeping the gut barrier in good shape.

  • Gut hormones - gut bacteria produce key hormones such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and peptide YY (PYY), which are known to regulate nutrient absorption, energy balance, and appetite[3].

  • Neurotransmitters - serotonin and GABA are prime examples, which help promote relaxation and better mood.


How can you change your diet in a way to help balance your gut microbiomes?


In order for gut bacteria to thrive and stay balanced in our intestines, they need the appropriate fuel each day to survive. Each type of bacteria has foods they like and dislike just like humans and animals. If you consume foods that are high in unhealthy fats and less in antioxidants, which are common in the Western diet, bacteria that prefer the same unhealthy foods will overgrow in the intestines and dysbiosis and GI symptoms may occur [4].


A high-fiber diet that includes a variety of colorful plant-based foods is shown to promote optimal gut health. The current recommendation is to eat 25-35 grams of fiber per day to promote good health and an ideal weight. Particularly, prebiotic-rich foods can significantly help with bacterial growth and diversity. [5].


Prebiotics are types of non-digestible fiber that are degraded by gut bacteria to thrive and grow. Here are some common prebiotic-rich foods that you can incorporate into your diet:

  • Garlic

  • Onions

  • Leeks

  • Jerusalem artichoke

  • Asparagus

  • Bananas

  • Apples

  • Berries

  • Oats

  • Barley

  • Wheat bran

  • Flaxseeds

By consuming more plant-based foods, various gut bacteria can produce the health-promoting molecules mentioned above. As a result, these molecules may not only help protect your intestinal health, but also reduce a risk of inflammation, immune disorders, and metabolic conditions.


Gut bacteria prefer fiber from actual food sources since foods contain more nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants compared to dietary supplements. Thus, it is important to consume at least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy.


Here is an example of a 3-day gut healthy meal plan:

​Day

Meal plan

Day 1

Breakfast: oatmeal with flaxseeds and berries

 

Lunch: Whole wheat wrap with turkey, kale, and onion

 

Dinner: Grilled salmon with barley and asparagus

Day 2

Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with avocado mash and smoked salmon, side of berries

 

Lunch: Shrimp and arugula Caesar salad

 

Dinner: Lentil and tofu curry with brown rice, side of fruits

Day 3

Breakfast; Scramble eggs with leek and mushrooms, side of whole wheat toast and pear

 

Lunch: Chicken breast tacos with whole wheat tortilla and veggies

 

Dinner: Lean NY steak with mashed sweet potatoes, green salad with artichoke and olives

Each individual has different dietary needs. It is important to create a nutrition plan that is tailored to meet your health needs. Schedule an individual 1:1 nutrition counseling session, so we can show you how!

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