Between you, me and the gatepost I thought bifidis was a made-up name that some suit in a marketing department had crafted to make bacteria a tad less scary.
Let’s face it, if you’ve got a product purporting to be healthy, consumers are going to take some convincing that choosing to digest bacteria is actually good for them. How do I know this? I was one of those unconvinced consumers.
But it turns out that bifidis is one of a genuine branch of good – or healthy – bacteria that falls into the science of probiotics. I know – if you’d have told me ten years ago I’d find science fascinating I’d have said you were on drugs. But once you get started on this healthy living kick, you get sort of hooked.
So, probiotics. We’ll come onto the advantages and how to get some inside you in a moment. But first, we need to understand why they’re important. And convince you that glugging bacteria can help as part of a weight-loss/muscle gain diet.
A Clean Gut Is Essential for a Weight Loss Diet
One of the key elements to weight loss is deriving as much nutrition from the food you do consume as possible. Nutrition is, in essence, the very reason we eat.
The reason we gain weight from our diet is two-fold:
1. Our diet is so poor that we have to eat way above our calorific limits to provide our bodies with enough nourishment
2. We have to overeat because our intestines are so unclean, they cannot extract all of the goodness from the food we shove through it
Probiotics tackle both of those problems. And, what’s more, something that we take for granted every day contains your bifidis and similar probiotics to help keep your gut clean and is, in its own rite, one of the most renowned super-foods.
“What is it, then?” I hear you ask, begging to be put out of your misery.
The surprising answer is yoghurt. Not your Mueller corners, but plain, natural yoghurt that you can buy quite cheaply from any supermarket.
It’s true. Most foods associated with weight loss have a ‘market price’. Supermarket owners know that the weight loss industry is a gold mine.
Therefore, the supposedly ‘good for you’ ready meals they offer (what a contradiction in terms that is) cut down on the calories and fat but are enhanced on the price tag. Many cut down on taste or use salt as a substitute, but that’s for another discussion later in this series.
So, I’m pleased to tell you right here, right now that good old natural, plain yoghurt is still one of the best-kept secrets in the dietary industry.
So, what are the benefits of probiotics?
Whilst it’s true that the adverts you see on TV for probiotic drinks (market price, beware!) illustrate the benefit bifidis has on the gut, the overall feel-good effect is far more widespread.
The good bacteria gets to work all the way through your intestinal tract, starting from the point of entry (your mouth) all the way through your system, including your bowel.
As such, probiotics not only keep your gut clean, but can aid symptoms of wind, constipation and even that bloated stomach feeling we get from undigested food.
Furthermore, an unloved bowel is where many other much more serious conditions start. The emphasis on doing what you can to keep your gut clean cannot be stressed enough.
Approximately three quarters of our immune cells reside in our intestines. Probiotics are catalysts of Vitamin B complexes and Vitamin K production, essential for the body if we want to absorb the nutrition our food is intended to deliver.
As the vitamins convert the food to nourishment, it is absorbed through the intestines. This both reinforces our immune system and distributes the nutrition around our body.
The benefits of probiotics don’t end there.
One of the many reasons individuals start weight loss programs is because of the threat of Type 2 Diabetes. There is growing evidence that Vitamin K can reduce the possibility of diabetes by 20%.
If you think back to where Vitamin D was a decade ago, that’s where the studies of Vitamin K are, now. There are similarities between what Vitamin K can do for the bones, hair and nails that Vitamin D delivers, including helping to fight osteoporosis.
But the added benefit of the probiotics in which Vitamin K is found is that they help fight toxins that would otherwise build up in the skin and the liver.
The toxins and free radicals probiotics fight give us a sunken complexion and dull skin and eyes. Reductions of harmful toxins help prevent wrinkling and sagging and put that twinkle back in your eyes!
And, yes, by eating natural yoghurt daily as part of your calorie-controlled diet you can start enjoying the benefits of probiotics from day 1!
And you thought bacteria was bad for you!? That’ll teach you to watch too many Orson Welles’ movies.