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Your Gut Could Hold The Secret To Getting Leaner

26th January 2021

26th January 2021

By Shivraj Bassi

Your body contains millions and millions of bacteria. In a person who weighs 70g, it’s estimated that there are approximately 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells. Gross, right?

Well, not exactly. While the concept of trillions of tiny organisms using your body as a cosy home might be creepy when taken out of context, the bacteria and microorganisms living on your skin and inside your body play a vital role. Most of these bacterial cells are located in your intestines, where they play a crucial part in your health and your immune system.

The bacteria in your gut, and by extension your gut health, can affect your weight. They affect how different foods are digested and they produce chemicals that help you to feel full. It’s crucial to ensure that you understand how what you eat affects your gut, and that you’re eating foods that will promote healthy gut bacteria growth. 

What are gut bacteria?

Most of the trillions of bacteria in your gut live in a section of your large intestine named the cecum. The hundreds of different kinds of bacteria carry out essential tasks which keep you healthy, such as producing vitamin K, and communicate with your immune to help you fight off disease and infection. 

More pertinently for losing weight, they come into contact with food you eat and affect how it’s digested, affecting the nutrients you’re able to absorb and how energy is stored in your body. 

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

How does gut health affect weight loss?

Fascinatingly, a study which examined 77 pairs of twins, one of whom was obese and one of whom was not, found that the obese twins not only had different gut bacteria but a lower diversity of gut bacteria. Another study showed that if gut bacteria from obese people was transplanted into mice, the mice then start to gain weight. This suggests a correlation between gut bacteria and weight, which may be due to the differing effects of the bacteria on different types of food. 

One example of this is the fact that humans by themselves can’t digest fibre, but certain kinds of gut bacteria can. When the bacteria digest fibre, they produce chemicals which benefit overall gut health and possibly promote weight loss. It’s been shown that people with a high fibre intake tend to weigh less.

Another study discovered that the ratio of two different kinds of intestinal bacteria could determine the amount of weight you lose when you go on a diet. Bacteroidetes, which people who eat more animal protein and fat have more of, and Prevotella, which digests fibre and carbohydrates, were measured in a study where participants ate a high fibre wholegrain diet for 26 weeks. Those with higher levels of Prevotella lost 2.3kg more than those with more Bacteroidetes in their gut. 

The bacteria in your gut is also crucial in the digestion of certain types of antioxidants called flavonoids, which could help to prevent weight gain

Hungry or full? Your gut bacteria have the answers

Hormones are to your appetite what protein is to muscle growth - essential and non-negotiable. Your body produces hormones, including leptin, peptide YY (PYY) and ghrelin, to regulate your appetite, and studies have shown that the differing amount of bacteria in your gut can affect this production, thus determining whether you feel satiated or hungry. 

One study showed that adults who took propionate, a short-chain fatty acid which is produced when certain kinds of gut bacteria break down fibre, had increased levels of two kinds of hormone which affect hunger levels. Participants lost weight and reduced the amount of food they ate. 

What to eat for good gut health

In short, we might not fully comprehend the role gut bacteria has on weight loss and diet, but it’s definitely something that’s worth keeping in mind. To that end, we developed The Digest Capsules, a daily capsule containing probiotics and prebiotics to encourage the growth of good gut bacteria and maintain a strong and diverse micriobiome, with digestive enzymes and ginger to improve digestion and reduce bloating. 

Why not also check out The Lean Protein, a protein supplement crafted to help you slim down. It’s designed to support the metabolisation of fat, reduce your cravings and support muscle repair and growth. On top of all of that, it contains inulin and pomegranates, two ingredients which have been shown to improve gut health. 

There are also number of foods to include in your diet if you’re focusing on improving and maintaining good gut health. 

  • Fruits and vegetables contain lots of different types of fibre, which support positive gut bacteria. Eating lots of different kinds of plant-based foods can help to increase your gut bacteria diversity, which promotes a healthy weight. 
  • Whole grains are also high in fibre and are digested by the bacteria Bifidobacteria, and may help with losing weight.
  • Foods rich in Polyphenol, including green tea, red wine and dark chocolate, are digested by the good kind of bacteria and promote the growth of even more. 
  • Fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha contain bacteria such as lactobacilli which are beneficial and can even minimise the type of gut bacteria which can cause disease. 

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The New Nasal Breathing Technique To Improve Breathing During Exercise
Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. That’s what they say, right? Well, there’s been some research to suggest that nasal breathing during exercise is the new go-to, and there are some pretty impressive nasal breathing benefits, if we do say so ourselves. Do you breathe through your mouth or nose? Think about it. Right now, how are you breathing?  Typically, for everyone it’s different, and this is generally the technique that is more comfortable for you. The fact is though, better oxygen intake means greater energy levels: which by the way, you can also get from The Energy Booster. A lot of people ask us questions around breathing during exercise, such as how to breathe when jogging, sprinting and rowing. Well, here we go… nasal breathing is the new way to go.  What is nasal breathing? It’s probably good to get this technique defined, so that you can start implementing the breathing exercise on your next run, or when you next pop to the gym. Nasal breathing involves slow, controlled, and deep breaths through your nose whilst exercising. The aim of the game here, is to breathe in deeply enough so that you fill your lungs with air. As much as possible, actually. Not only does this breathing technique increase your oxygen intake, but the strategy slows down your breathing and heart rate, conserving energy. Thus, improving your athletic performance. Voila.  What is mouth breathing? We’d say that the clue is in the name, but we thought we’d clear up the difference anyway. This is when you breathe through your mouth. However, you may be surprised that mouth-breathing introduces some risks.  So, if you’re a so-called “mouth-breather” (as horrible as that name is), it might be time to listen up and change your ways.  Chronic mouth breathing can lead to growth issues in children such as crooked teeth and facial deformities, and in adults, breathing solely through the mouth can cause bad breath, chronic fatigue, irritability and even snoring. Woah. Nasal breathing benefits Nasal breathing engages the lower lungs This means that you’re pumping out more oxygen, which travels around your body. This is great for your cells, which means healthy organ functioning, great cell growth and a happy body. Improves your diaphragm use Breathing through the nose means that you are helping your diaphragm (the major muscle involved in respiration) to work properly and efficiently. Sounds pretty helpful. It increases your production of Nitric Oxide Nitric oxide sounds pretty harmful, but it is a vasodilator. A vasodilator is used in the widening of blood vessels, and are often used in the treatment of high blood pressure. An introduced production of Nitric Oxide (NO) can improve your oxygen circulation, again improving organ and cell functioning. Filters out harmful allergens The nose is carefully constructed to prevent foreign items, allergens and other nasties from entering our respiratory tract. This means that engaging in nasal breathing techniques (as opposed to breathing through our mouths), means that the number of harmful germs, foreign bodies and other unwanted items is greatly reduced. Thank goodness. Promotes smoother oxygen entry This sounds pretty sophisticated, but what we mean by this is, breathing through your nose both warms-up and moistens the air you breathe in. This is particularly advantageous if you’re exercising in cold weather (as breathing in the cold is harder in itself, anyway), and means that the air we breathe in has more opportunity to warm up before reaching your lungs. Warm air means greater dilation of the bronchial tubes. What does that mean for us? Yeah, better oxygen intake. You guessed it. The science behind the nasal breathing technique Now you may be thinking, that’s all well and good. But is there evidence to support this? Stop right there, we’re way ahead of you. This advice hasn’t come from nowhere. It’s been found that nasal breathing actually stimulates the nervous system – more specifically, the area that prioritises rest and recovery, as well as digestion. This means that nasal breathing promotes relaxation, and a sense of calmness – one that is definitely welcomed when you’re mid 10k run, hoping that the next 5k go way faster than the last. Research conducted by the International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science revealed that whilst this nasal breathing technique does not increase our ability to intake oxygen, nasal breathing techniques decrease respiratory rate, ratio of oxygen intake to carbon dioxide, and even breaths per minute. The study involved both male and female runners and required the runners to use the nasal breathing technique for a period of six months.  So, in our eyes, it’s a pretty well-rounded, balanced study, and definitely shows that there is scope to introduce this into your workout routine for improved athletic performance. Techniques for breathing after exercise Whilst we’ve covered the technique for breathing whilst jogging, skipping or whatever your exercise of choice is, we thought it would be helpful to give you some advice when it comes to warming down. The thing to prioritise here is your posture. Sit upright, or lay down flat on the floor, to ensure your spine is as flat and straight as possible. Another way to do this – depending on where you’ve worked out, is to lie flat on the floor and place your legs at a 90-degree angle to the wall. This gives you the ability to fill your lungs to full capacity, and promotes oxygen flow, recovery and enhances your oxygen levels. All essential for your post-exercise routine. Summary If you’re someone that exercises frequently, and you’ve noticed that you primarily breathe through your mouth – give this nasal breathing technique a go. Not only will you stop yourself becoming victim to the risks of mouth-breathing that we outlined above, but you’ll reap the benefits when it comes to your athletic performance, too. Read more