Many people are surprised that one of the easiest ways to lose weight is by eating foods with probiotics and/or taking a quality probiotic supplement. Avoiding weight gain is also a much simpler task if you get a regular supply of probiotics in your diet. If your gut has a balanced ecosystem of 80 percent good bacteria versus 20 percent bad bacteria, your body will burn fat more efficiently and you will not crave sugar and carbs nearly as much. However, not all probiotics are created equal. Below are a few tips to help you find the probiotics that will help keep you healthy and avoid gaining weight.
Lacto-fermented vegetables are one of the best sources for quality probiotics. If you eat foods like kimchi, often spelled kimchee, traditional style sauerkraut, and miso on a regular basis, avoiding weight gain will be relatively easy. If you can find lacto-fermented pickles or lacto-fermented olives, these are also a great source of quality probiotics. For western taste buds, eating lacto-fermented vegetables can sometimes take a little getting used to. However, weight gain can be avoided by including just 1-3 teaspoons of quality kimchi as a side dish in your diet every day. The vegetables most often used to make kimchee include cabbage and kale but you will also find carrots, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, beets, and green beans added into the fermented vegetable mix. Spices such as thyme, dill, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and galanga are also often used and can make a big difference in taste.
Finding the style of kimchi you like best is critical to avoiding weight gain because you need to find varieties that you like. If you enjoy the kimchee you buy, you will be motivated to keep eating it. If you have tried kimchi only once or twice and didn’t like what you tasted, don’t stop trying! There are literally thousands of varieties of kimchi and they all taste different. Also, kimchi is a taste that tends to grow on people. Many people that start out not liking it as much actually find they start to crave it after a while.
You do not want to cook kimchi or other lacto-fermented vegetables or it will kill the beneficial probiotics. However, it can be served a little warm without losing this benefit. It takes great on warm grilled cheese sandwiches or on melted cheese hamburgers because the cheese cuts the tartness of the kimchi. It also tastes great served as a side with any sandwich, much like you’d serve cole slaw. Some people like to spread it over warm rice, sometimes with seafood as well.
The traditional diet of the Koreans going back for centuries has included probiotics in the form of kimchee and other fermented vegetables such as fermented bean dishes. Therefore, avoiding weight gain for Koreans and other cultures that eat a small quantity of lacto-fermented vegetables everyday is something they don’t even really have to think about. However, we can learn by studying what they do and mimicking it as much as possible. There are virtually no over-weight Koreans if they follow a traditional diet. However, those Koreans who have adopted a more westernized diet are showing signs of obesity.
When selecting kimchi or other lacto-fermented vegetables, make sure they are kept refrigerated. These will have far more probiotics than lacto-fermented stored in unrefrigerated jars or cans. In fact, some non-refrigerated lacto-fermented vegetables contain virtually no probiotics so this is not even a decent substitute. Good sources for lacto-fermented vegetables include natural foods stores, food co-ops, and oriental specialty markets. If you are trying to lose weight or simple avoid weight gain, it is best to try to eat lacto-fermented vegetables from as many sources as possible as they will each have a different assemblage of probiotics. More diversity is always better.
Another excellent source of probiotics for avoiding weight gain is raw milk, i.e. unpasteurized milk. Raw milk contains more than fifty species of friendly probiotics. Pasteurization kills all of these probiotics. It also kills the pre-biotics in the milk that feed and support the probiotics. Contrary to popular belief, if you buy raw milk from an organic farm that is careful about how they handle the milk, there is less chance of getting sick from raw milk than from pasteurized milk.
It is becoming easier these days to find raw cheeses made with raw milk that have been aged more than sixty days. Even some of the mainstream grocery stores sell raw cheeses now. Most natural food stores and co-ops sell raw cheese. It is usually labeled as “raw cheese” but the better way to tell is to read the ingredients. If the cheese says “pasteurized milk,” it is not raw cheese. Just remember that if you cook raw cheese, you lose the benefits of the probiotics in the raw cheese.
Raw milk can be used to make yogurt or kefir by purchasing powdered starter cultures from the internet and some health food stores. All you have to do is literally mix the cultures into the milk and leave this in a warm place. The resulting yogurt will have dozens of species of probiotics rather than one to five species like most commercial yogurts contain. If you decide to do this, be sure to buy mesophilic cultures, not thermophilic cultures, so you do not have to heat the milk too much and destroy its natural probiotics.
Another easy way to get your probiotics is by taking a high quality probiotic supplement every day. To select a good probiotic capsule, make sure they are kept refrigerated at the source and at every point along the distribution chain. If probiotics are left out at room temperature, and worse, sit in a hot warehouse of truck, the living probiotics will die and they will not help you avoid weight gain. Also, be sure to select ones with at least ten different varieties and/or strains of friendly bacteria, more if possible.
In conclusion, probiotics are one of the easiest ways to lose weight since they can be easily eaten every day or a supplement can be taken. If you get your probiotics balanced, you will be amazed at how easily you burn fat.