Probiotics and Weight Loss: Five Foods to Flatten Your Tummy

Cecile LaRiviere

Posted on January 14 2016

Mounting evidence suggests that naturally occurring bacteria in our bodies (microflora) can influence body weight and our ability to either lose or gain weight.

While the science is preliminary at this point, researchers speculate that gut bacteria can influence how efficiently a person digests and absorb food. It is thought that bacteria in the gut that speed up the breakdown of food, increase the production of fatty acids and lead to the formation of fat and weight gain.

Researchers assigned one group fermented kimchee and one group fresh kimchee to see which would have better effects on weight. The group that ate the fermented kimchee saw signifincnt decrease in their waist-to-hip ratios and in their fasting blood sugar. Total cholesterol was reduced as well.

So how can you take advantage of this emerging research? Add healthy bacteria to your diet every day, in the form of fermented foods. Here are some smart choices:

1. Kimchi

First, kimchi of course! In the study, researchers found that the longer the kimchi fermented the more potent the effects. What is it exactly? It's cabbage, radish, garlic, vinegar, and spices that make this delicious condiment. It's rich in lactobacilli, which is a bacteria that helps with digestion and absorption.

Try this recipe from TheKitchn:

Make your own Kimchi with this recipe from The Kitchn

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is another (less spicy) choice. You will need to buy the kind that is in the refrigerated section of your grocery store to ensure you are getting the active cultures needed to make a difference in your gut health. We like a brand called Bubbie's:
Bubbies' fermented sauerkraut.

Use this form of fermented cabbage as a side dish on its own (low cal and good for you!), with sausages, or simply eat one tablespoon every morning before breakfast to fire up your digestion.

3. Cheese, Please

Specifically soft cheese, that is. The lactic acid in soft cheeses like brie helps with cheese ripening - and helps with your gut too! Cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss cheese also contain lactic acid that can help to deliver healthy bacteria to your gut.

4. Kombucha

This new 'it' drink sends four to seven microorganisms to your gut at once, which can help to flatten your tummy.  Just be sure you're not actually getting a few tablespoons of sugar in each bottle too.   One to try that isn't too bad: GTs Kombucha

5. Pickles  

Yup, those little green bites that make your sandwiches zing can also make your gut happy, too. Don't stop at just your standard dills, though - fermented (pickled) cauliflower, hot peppers, and carrots are all great choices.

There you have it - five easy additions to your daily diet. If these don't appeal, or if you don't think you'll get enough in your diet, check out femMED's Probiotic - probiotics and weight loss in a simple daily supplement. Welcome a little healthy bacteria into your life!

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