Yes probiotics and prebiottics may help you to flatten stomach. You will find some supplements in supermarket claim to be probiotics and some claim to have weight loss effect. Still those are not endorsed by scientific community and their adverts are restricted in US and European countries. But there are some natural probiotic and prebiotic foods. Many studies have supported the idea that probiotic and prebiotic foods have many health benefits and even have weight loss effect, these may help you to burn fat. Fat is mostly deposited around midriff and burning fat means flattening stomach. I think before discussing about probiotics and prebiotics some words on good and bad bacteria will be handy.
Good bacteria and bad bacteria
Our gut is full of microorganisms, some are harmful and some are useful. In fact our gut contains more microorganisms (i.e. virus, bacteria and fungi) than our body cells; believe it or not!
When you hear about bacteria or fungus, what do you think at first? Isn’t it about diseases? There is real reason behind this panic. Because anthrax, cholera, diphtheria, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid and many other deadly diseases are caused by various types of bacteria, though most of those are curable thanks to modern antibiotics. Several types of fungi are responsible for many other diseases like meningitis and mctinomycosis. Some of them may be fatal if not treated in time and properly.
So bacteria and fungi are not good, huh?
Yes many of those are harmful, at the same time many of them are useful. Fungus like yeast helps fermenting. Some bacteria help you to digest, some bacteria helps medicine to work and only presence of some bacteria helps your immune system to learn fighting against harmful bacteria. These microorganisms fight against harmful microorganisms. So, killing useful bacteria means helping harmful bacteria to dominate your gut.
It may be caused by antibiotics or may be because of your unhealthy food selection. For example, sugary foods help growing harmful bacteria.
What can we do to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria?
One thing we can do is to eat healthy so that bad bacteria can’t grow and good bacteria can grow faster and we can eat live good bacteria. This is exactly what probiotic supplement manufacturers claim. Do they work? More on it later.
What are probiotics and prebiotics?
Many people ask, what is the difference between probitics and prebiotics, are they same? Well sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably but they are not same at all. In simple words probiotics are foods which give you live good bacteria and prebiotics are food for those bacteria.
Probiotics are foods which contain live good bacteria and yeast. Usually these are fermented food items like yogurt.
Prebiotics do not contain bad or good bacteria. Usually these are fiber rich foods like oats. We can’t digest this type of fiber. But good bacteria in our intestine can digest those. That means we are feeding good bacteria so that those can overpower bad bacteria. Prebiotics may not tasty but badly needed for your stomach.
Why probiotics and prebiotics are important to flatten stomach?
Probiotics or good bacteria prevent bloating. As I mentioned in other articles on flattening stomach that may be bloating is one of the reasons why your midriff area doesn’t look flat. When you want to help good bacteria you need to eat probiotics and prebiotics.
Several studies have shown that some probiotics can also help you to burn fat and inhibit absorption of dietary fat. But keep in mind that, until now effects of probiotics are not understood well and more evidence is required.
Which are probiotic foods?
Some of the probiotic foods:
- Sauerkraut: Cabbage fermented using lactic acid and bacteria.
- Yogurt: Fermented milk. Look for probiotic yogurt.
- Cheese: Not all cheese is fermented, so check food label before buying.
- Kombucha: It’s fermented black or green tea.
- Tempeh: Fermented soybean.
- Pickles: It’s fermented cucumbers. Cucumbers are fermented in salt water using its naturally present bacteria and it’s good for digestive health.
- Kefir: Kefir grains are added to milk and then fermented.
- Kimchi: Cabbage and other fermented vegetables.
This list goes on. Be careful, some probiotic foods may not suit you.
Which are prebiotic foods?
Some of the prebiotic foods:
- Wheat Bran
Probiotic and prebiotic suppliments
You will see many probiotic supplement adverts claim to improve digestive health, some adverts also claim to reduce weight and burn fat. Many of those claims are not established scientifically. So it’s your decision whether to take or not. Many probiotic organisms can’t pass through acidic environment inside stomach, i.e. they can’t reach to intestine.