So cook up some oatmeal—and top it with some fruit. What's so magical about this combination? Each provides insoluble fiber that helps reduce blood cholesterol and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut. By doing so, you trigger your gut to produce butyrate, a fatty acid that reduces fat-causing inflammation throughout your body. In a Canadian study, researchers discovered that those whose diets were supplemented with insoluble fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger. (Try these two-minute oatmeal recipes that'll make you an oatmeal fan forever.)
Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between the gut microbiome and a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal system, as well as autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease), allergies and asthma – even cancer. And with every study that is published, they are convinced that a healthy gut leads to a healthy body. Indeed, when your gut is happy, your skin glows with health and you look and feel younger.
The next time you’re making a salad or eating some yogurt, add some almonds to the dish. Not only will the nuts add a nice crunch to your food, but their high protein and fiber content makes them ideal for weight loss. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/4/1/e000993.full found that consuming 1.5 ounces of almonds daily (as opposed to a carb dense muffin) along with a heart-healthy diet, helped to improve cholesterol and lipid profiles among the research participants. The study also found that eating almonds reduces belly fat, too.
A natural source of melatonin, which helps lower cortisol, tart cherry juice can help you achieve a good night's sleep. Getting only 6 hours of sleep versus the recommended 8 hours means that you can have up to 50% more cortisol exposure – and that can lead to more sweet-tooth cravings and belly fat. Elevated cortisol also keeps you restless and alert when you don't need to be, making it hard to fall asleep. Drink an 8-ounce glass in the morning and 2 hours before bed for sweet dreams. To get the full benefit, drink this juice at a scheduled time every day.
Seated medicine ball twists are a great way to get a toned midsection because they target your obliques while also engaging your abdominals and lower back muscles. When doing this exercise, Mark advises people to keep their feet on the ground. “This one is all about form, so keep your feet on the ground, lean back just enough to feel an engagement in your abdominals, and make a nice full turn with your shoulders,” he explains, noting you should feel that satisfying core burn in no time.
It's not just about weight loss. Having great gut health is linked to good health throughout your body. Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between gut microbes and the  immune system, weight loss, gastrointestinal health, , allergies, asthma, and even cancer. With every study that's published, scientists become more convinced that having a healthy gut leads to having a healthy body.
For test panelist June Caron, incorporating fresh produce like avocados was a life-changing lesson from Zero Belly Diet. The 55-year-old lost 6 pounds in the first week on the program. "Learning to eat real, chemical-free, fresh foods has been the best thing that ever happened to me. I am never hungry. And the weight just keeps coming off!" Glowing skin, healthy nails, and better sleep were Zero Belly bonuses, June said. "I'm well on my way to getting my sexy back. Everyone says I look much younger!"
A note on vegan/vegetarian diets: This is another topic that entire books and articles are written about, so we won’t dive into them here. Of course, it is absolutely possible to build muscle or lose fat on a vegan/vegetarian diet. Certainly you can get to a flat stomach, you just need to be diligent with your calorie tracking and macros, like we recommend you do above.
Dinner: Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche. Take away the unhealthy crust found on most quiches and you actually have a healthy option filled with veggies and proteins. These sweet potatoes add fiber, vitamins and loads of flavor. Best of all, it’s a complete meal in one dish! Strawberries are a perfect dessert to end your meal! http://www.fourteenforty365.com/2014/04/weekend-meal-prep.html
"Researchers are now discovering that gut bacteria also seem to play a role in the complex process of weight loss and weight gain," he writes. "We don't know exactly how much impact our Little Buddies have on our weight, but we're learning enough to believe that understanding the connection more fully may help us as we confront the obesity epidemic in the United States — and in our own bodies."
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