Eat plenty of probiotic foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and Korean kim chi to lose belly fat. The healthy bacteria in probiotic foods can improve many aspects of health, including metabolism and immune function, both of which affect belly fat.
Probiotics Fight Belly Fat
Two new studies show that probiotic foods can help keep belly fat at bay. In the first study, taking a probiotic when eating a high-fat diet resulted in no increase in belly fat, whereas a placebo group gained belly fat.
The second study showed that probiotic supplementation decreased metabolic disease risk factors. Volunteers who took probiotics in a fermented milk drink lost 4.3 percent belly fat and 1.3 percent total body fat. In contrast, a control group had no change in fat markers. The probiotic milk also resulted in greater glucose uptake and better insulin health.
Probiotics Promote Insulin Sensitivity
The healthy bacteria in probiotics transform your metabolism for the better. Managing insulin is critical for metabolic health and leanness. The role of insulin is to get glucose into your cells so it can be used for energy or stored as fat. When you overeat calories or are inactive and sedentary, your cells become insulin resistant. This leads to high insulin and glucose, which elevates cortisol and causes inflammation.
High cortisol levels stimulate hunger, leading to a vicious cycle of overeating and fat gain. Additionally, cortisol "tells" the body to store fat in the abdominal cavity and in organs such as the brain and heart. Known as visceral fat, this type of fat is especially dangerous, increasing risk of heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
Probiotic Foods Protect Metabolism
Healthy bacteria impact both your emotional relationship with eating and how your body metabolizes food. You already know that healthy bacteria improves insulin sensitivity so your body can handle glucose better. And healthy bacteria decrease the cortisol response that drives food intake. Just as important, probiotics improve the immune response and reduce inflammation. Most interesting, probiotics eliminate bad pathogens in the gut and improve the brain-gut connection. The result is that you feel less anxiety and have a better mood due to a healthy gut. It becomes easier to moderate your food intake so that you eat within your calorie needs and stay lean.
How To Get Probiotics In Food
Get probiotics from fermented foods. These include cultured dairy, such as yogurt, or fermented vegetables, including sauerkraut and kim chi. Kefir and Indian Lassi are also probiotic-rich foods. Add them as condiments to every meal.
You can also pad your probiotic intake with a supplement. Picking an effective and safe probiotic can be tricky. Here's a guide for making a good choice.