Just in time for the New Year, The Lose Your Belly Diet by Travis Stork, M.D. is now available wherever books are sold! Check out our exclusive interview with the host of the Emmy Award-winning show, The Doctors.
MT: Why is gut health so important, especially for women?
Dr. Travis Stork: In my new book, The Lose Your Belly Diet, I emphasize the importance of building a diverse population of beneficial gut microbes (I refer to them as our Little Buddies); they play such a crucial role in our health that it’s kind of amazing that it’s taken so long for us to start giving them the attention they deserve. Research is emerging about the connections between our gut microbes and chronic disease and taking better care of our gut microbes may help us lose unwanted weight while also lowering our risk of developing the top three chronic health conditions in the U.S. – cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. The more microbial diversity and greater number of beneficial gut bacteria one has, the better the chances for living the longest, healthiest, and most vibrant life possible.
MT: What are some essential foods needed to properly feed your gut?
Dr. Travis Stork: There are a few basic changes I recommend in the book to make you healthier and potentially lose weight, if that’s a goal.
1) Enjoy at least one probiotic food every day – yogurt, Kefir, miso, live culture sauerkraut, kimchi, Kombucha, are all examples.
2) Eat an abundance of fruits & veggies, raw whenever possible!
3) Eat a mix of plant proteins – foods like beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds bring protein, fiber and other nutrients to the table that are often lacking in the typical American diet that leans heavily on meat for protein.
4) Choose great grains – swap that white pasta & bread for whole grain versions and white rice for brown. Experiment with whole grains. There are so many to choose from like barley, bulgur and quinoa.
5) Embrace friendly fats – these can provide heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and help ward off hunger! Use healthy oils like olive oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil. My personal favorite “fatty” food happens to be avocados. They are good on almost everything and, as least in my opinion, are quite tasty! Consider foods like tahini or even dark chocolate (real dark chocolate over 70%, not milk chocolate) for a dose of healthy fats.
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MT: What role does exercise play in combating belly fat?
Dr. Travis Stork: Food plays the most important role for most of us in the battle against belly fat and contrary to popular belief; one cannot single out belly fat with a particular exercise. But the good news is that any activity when combined with an improved diet will target belly fat as a whole. And let’s not forget that exercise is great for our overall health – it can help prevent heart disease, some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety to name a few.
MT: What impact do antibiotics have in terms of controlling the health of your gut?
Dr. Travis Stork: Unnecessary use of antibiotics is one of the biggest threats to our Little Buddies. They are often over-prescribed and overused. They are valuable for fighting bacterial disease when used responsibly however, current research shows that one-third to one-half of antibiotic prescriptions in our country are unnecessary – a common cold is a viral illness for example, that will not be cured by antibiotics!
MT: What tips can you share with moms to help us take control of our health in 2017?
Dr. Travis Stork: If I can impart one tip, it would be my guiding principle for some time now: let food be your medicine, not your poison. Make better choices and eat high-quality foods that nourish you, make you feel full and satisfied, and ingest fewer of the low-quality foods that lead to excess weight gain and fat accumulation. The reason I wrote “The Lose Your Belly Diet” is because I love food and know that you can eat healthily and feel full, satisfied AND lose excess pounds – increasing your quality of life and life span along the way!
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