Your gastrointestinal tract, or simply your gut, is actually a hollow tube that goes from your mouth, throughout your whole body and all the way to your anus.
It is used for food consumption, digestion and waste processing and is therefore one of the vital organs in our body.
We have learned all this in biology classes, but there is much more to our gut than this.
Actually, I was quite amazed to learn that we have about 100 trillion bacteria living in our gut, which means that we have 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in our entire body.
These bacteria live in symbiosis and unity with our body, because, through the process of evolution, they have become integrated into our organism.
The collection of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and that generally do not cause diseases, unless imbalanced, are called microbiota or microbiome.
The gut microbiota is actually regarded as a separate and “long-forgotten” organ as it has been discovered to control our immune system, to regulate our metabolism and to keep our digestive system in order.
In other words, this means that a good gut helps you not to contract diseases very often and helps you maintain your ideal weight.
Our gut bacteria are therefore not merely passive inhabitants of our digestive organs, but they work on turning food remnants into energy, synthesizing vitamins, destroying harmful bacteria and enabling the gut to function properly.
However, as anything else in life, the microbiota, too, has its good and bad side, that is, it comprises good and bad bacteria that live in harmony with each other and with your gut.
Still, if the bad bacteria prevail due to an unhealthy diet, chronic stress, excessive use of antibiotics and other medications and sedentary and inactive lifestyle, this balance will be disrupted, so the gut bacteria will be unable to successfully protect you from diseases, but will instead cause autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, muscular dystrophy, arthritis and even cancer.
Our microbiota is determined by a number of factors, such as genetics, age, type of birth, and our living environment, but most importantly by our diet.
This is why people say that your health comes from your mouth, that is, from the food that you eat.
Our diet determines which gut bacteria will dominate, whether our immune system will be strong enough to fend off different kinds of diseases, and whether our guts will function properly to process waste effectively and thus eliminate our flab.
Some foods, such as olives, olive oil, sunflower oil, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds and avocado, have been confirmed to burn your abdominal fat much more easily as they improve your digestive system, so you should tend to include them in your everyday diet.
Excess weight especially in your midsection leads to stomach discomfort and increased pressure on the stomach, which eventually leads to
Furthermore, greater weight increases the risk of heart problems, diabetes and even cancer and thus increases the chances of premature death.
Medical studies have shown that it is the dominance of the unhealthy bacteria that actually makes us crave bad and unhealthy foods, thus causing obesity and a number of other health problems that accompany it.
Different species of bacteria thrive on specific food, so our gut is shaped up according to the food that we eat.
Namely, our diet determines whether the good bacteria will gain mastery over the bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract.
This is why unhealthy bacteria in our gut make us crave unhealthy food, like chocolate, cakes, all kinds of pastries (as in my case) and other fatty food as they send out chemical messages to our brain that affect both our appetite and our mood.
So, if bad bacteria prevail in your gastrointestinal system you are more likely to feel exhausted, moody and depressed.
Medical research have also confirmed that diet rich in protein and fat helps the pathogenic Bacteroides bacteria grow, while a diet rich in carbohydrates results in a higher number of Prevotella bacteria, which primarily causes respiratory infections.
It all boils down to this: if you feed your healthy gut bacteria well, your digestive system will function much better and it will stop your cravings for fattening food, but will instead help you lose your belly fat much more easily and will help you improve your overall health.
When it comes to women, the flab problem is more prominent because of the female anatomy, too.
Namely, the female digestive organs are squeezed alongside the reproductive organs in a smaller abdomen, so any excess of gas or food is more apparent on a female belly.
The female digestive system is also more burdened because of the hormonal shifts during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, which is why a healthy gut may be even more important for women.
Yet, regardless of your genetics, gender, exposure to stress and way of life, all of which determine your gut flora, you can maintain and restore your healthy microbiota by eating food that is good for your gastrointestinal system and abandoning some unhealthy practices, which will be considered in detail in the next chapter