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When it comes to your weight, PCOS or hormones, are you setting goals around your gut health? The body systems are so beautifully connected. This might also be frustrating to you because in order to get back into balance regarding your weight or hormones, you need to look inward. We typically count calories, hit the gym more or start a new trendy diet. What if I told you that’s all old-school, and I am about to share something new and effective?
Let’s dig in!
For starters, your gut holds many secrets for hormone regulation and weight management that no one is talking about.
Our gut microbiomes are constantly adapting to our lives, including our diet, stress and environment that we live in. It holds many (I’m talking trillions) of microbial cells. Not only does your gut work hard at digestion, but your gut hosts most of your immune system as well. These immune cells are your gut’s first defense whenever something foreign enters the microbiome. So your gut is pretty important when it comes to total body health.
Let’s learn more about the gut and hormone connection.
Studies have shown that gut bugs can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance and blood sugar irregularity play a major role in making the weight loss or hormone balancing journey challenging. In fact, obese individuals have a different and less diverse microbial profile. Ever think the type of bugs in your gut can have that sort of effect?
Individuals who hold on to excess weight have an increase in the species firmicutes and a decrease in Bacteroidetes. The firmicutes species tend to create an inflammatory response within the microbiome, which then leads to impaired insulin signaling. In fact, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) tend to also have less diversity in the microbiome. While certain bacteria strains can produce lipopolysaccharides, contributing to leaky gut (just think leaky gut inflammation). Inflammation interferes with the insulin response and can create testosterone production from the ovaries. Which is typical in women with PCOS.
While we are on the topic of hormones, let’s also discuss estrogen. There are actually little gut bugs that help to metabolize estrogen. Pretty cool, right? If estrogen is not being metabolized properly it can contribute to hormone imbalances and inability to lose weight. Further, high estrogen levels can contribute to fibroid formation and endometriosis.
Okay, let’s chat about stress. Stress can impact cortisol levels and negatively impact the gut microbiome. Cortisol is known as a stress hormone. With excess amounts of stress, we may see higher cortisol levels. These high levels can increase abdominal fat and make it hard to lose weight and get your insulin in check.
There are many ways to get your gut in check so you can thrive, have balanced hormones, maintain a healthy weight and so much more. Let’s focus on a few nutrition strategies to start.
- Fermented Foods: These help to deliver beneficial bacteria to the gut (one tablespoon of sauerkraut per day or other fermented food of choice).
- Resistant Starch Foods: These act as prebiotics or fiber that help the beneficial bacteria flourish (cooked and chilled sweet potatoes, cooked and chilled legumes, raw garlic and onions, green bananas and plantains, cooked and chilled white potatoes and jicama).
- Bitter Greens: These help to promote better digestion and nutrient absorption (broccoli rabe, radicchio, arugula, watercress and dandelion greens).
Please be mindful that healing the gut and hormones can take a total body approach. This means looking at other body systems, medical diagnoses, medications, stress levels and more.
And let me remind you that the health journey can be fun and sustainable. I help my clients do this every day in my private practice, and it brings me so much joy to see someone step into their true self, find better health and thrive in their everyday life.
I encourage you to sign up for a complimentary call with me. You deserve great health too. Book your complimentary call at 512-817-2612 or directly at womensnutritionclinic.com.