Science is beginning to provide more information about gut bacteria, often called “microbiota,” and its importance in gaining and losing weight. Studies have found that the human digestive system is filled with millions of types of bacteria that have a significant relationship to individuals’ weight. The possibility of changing this bacterial environment could alter how health professionals treat obesity in the future.

 What Are Gut Bacteria?
Microbes have been known to affect human health for hundreds of years. However, only recently has medical science begun looking specifically at the bacteria in the human digestive system and the role it plays in disease. The human intestines contain millions of different types of bacteria that help to break down food into tiny usable packets so they can be absorbed efficiently in the digestive tract. They also appear to play a part in providing enzymes that affect other organs, such as the pancreas that produce insulin to break down sugars. The right bacteria can help to utilize nutrients better and help manage better weight control.What Role Do Microbiota Play in Weight?

Researchers found the lean individuals possessed significantly more bacteria, and a greater variety of different types of bacteria, in their intestines than heavier individuals. This difference suggested that these bacteria may facilitate the efficient breakdown of nutrients in the body, and they also play a part in helping the body produce insulin that helps to remove glucose from the bloodstream. The inability to efficiently remove sugar from the body is a feature of type-2 diabetes. Studies in mice indicate that these bacteria play a part in the way energy is harvested and stored in the body.

Some studies show the types of bacteria that are present may also play a part in the tendency to obesity. Bacteria convert food into vitamins that are essential to health. They also manufacture small molecules that are important to brain function. Bacteria also send signals to the immune system to help fight disease. As gut bacteria changes, it also affects appetite control and how foods are metabolized.

Improving Gut Bacteria

Simple changes can help to change the bacterial environment in the intestines. Reducing the amount of high-fat, high sugar foods changes the bacteria in the intestine, allowing them to produce more health-promoting chemicals in the body.

Changing your diet to include more fiber can also help improve gut bacteria. Even exercise can create changes in the amount and types of bacteria in the intestines. Athletes have been found to have a greater variety of bacterial types in their guts.

Foods That Help Improve Gut Bacteria

You can take an active role in improving your gut bacteria by eating the right foods and avoiding specific actions that are known to decrease intestinal microbiota:

· Cruciferous vegetables – These vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale, which contain glucosinolates, which are broken down in the gut into compounds that reduce inflammation. Studies indicate that you can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent by eating these vegetables.

· Polenta – Polenta contains non-soluble fiber that fosters healthy intestinal function. It also has fermentable components that assist good digestion.

· Bananas – This tasty fruit provides a good balance of bacteria in the gut and also provide both potassium and magnesium for good health.

· Beans – Beans of all sorts produce short-chain fatty acids that increase absorption of nutrients, to help you maintain and healthy body and healthy brain.

· Fermented plant-based foods – Kimchi, pickled ginger sauerkraut and similar foods help to provide live microorganisms that punch up a number of bacteria in the intestines, to improve immune function, decrease allergic reactions and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

These simple changes in your diet can make a significant difference in how your digestive system functions and how you feel. Try these changes to your gut bacteria and see how it can improve your ability to maintain a healthy weight.