It’s getting so much harder to lose weight as I get older. Not only that, I feel so stressed and overwhelmed, I don’t have the energy to even think about losing weight. I know I should take the time to cook meals with fresh, unprocessed wholefoods, but it takes so much effort. Then I have to clean up!
It’s not just grumpy old woman syndrome that’s halting my motivation, it’s my gut flora. You see, my gut is meant to have trillions of microbes in it. This ‘microbiome’ is responsible for digestion and absorption of nutrients in food, enhancing immunity, acting as a ‘second brain’ that prevents depression, anxiety, autism and other mental dysfunction, and can prevent bowel diseases and type 2 diabetes. A healthy microbiome can also help prevent obesity. Clearly, I’m down to my last few billion microbes.
Living in a Western society eating a western diet that is low in fibre, high in fat and high in refined sugars hasn’t helped.
My first world problems are compounded by the overuse of antibiotics, genetics, and the fact that I wasn’t breastfed (thanks mum!).
There’s been plenty of long term research to back up claims that microbes in the gut (mostly) are responsible for such a wide array of diseases. Two of these studies are the Human Microbiome Project in the USA, and the Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract (MetaHIT) a collaboration amongst researchers in Europe and China. These studies are ongoing but have already found that use of antibiotics needs to be curtailed, the human microbiome affects nearly every system in the body, and diversity of foods in a healthy diet will benefit the microbiome. The Mediterranean Diet stands the test of time as a healthy diet to follow, and this is also true in helping to keep gut microbes at healthy levels.
Probiotic supplementation may help too but it’s still early days to draw too many conclusions.
There’s still no magic pill for gut flora. Not even a probiotic one. A healthy balanced diet and exercise wins the day again. Call it a gut feeling.