By Dr. Mercola
Your diet certainly has an impact on your appearance; your weight, complexion, muscle mass, nail strength, hair luster, and even your susceptibility to wrinkles and other signs of premature aging are all influenced by the foods you eat.
So your food choices can certainly lead to a sexier you.
But now researchers have revealed that beneficial bacteria known as probiotics may impart even more sexiness to those who consume them -- eating probiotic-rich yogurt, in fact, gave mice far more than shiny fur … it gave them "swagger."
Can Eating Probiotics Give You "Swagger"?
Writing in the journal Scientific American, researchers noted that mice fed probiotic-rich yogurt had a certain "swagger," which was caused by the males projecting their testes outward. This was done, the article notes, because the testicles of the yogurt-consuming mice were 5 percent heavier than those of mice fed typical diets, and 15 percent heavier than those of mice fed a junk-food diet.i
This wasn't only an aesthetic effect, as the yogurt-eating males also inseminated their partners faster and had more offspring. The female yogurt-eating mice also experienced a benefit; they gave birth to larger litters and were more likely to raise their pups successfully. The probiotic-rich diet also impacted the mice fur, leaving it shinier and silkier, with 10 times the active follicle density compared to the other mice. The researchers noted:
" … the probiotic microbes in the yogurt help to make the animals leaner and healthier, which indirectly improves sexual machismo."
Harvard researchers are currently investigating the impact of yogurt consumption on semen quality in men, and so far say their results are consistent with those of the mice.
Your Gut Bacteria Impact Your Weight, Too
There's obviously much more to being sexy than the number on the scale, but weight loss is often one of the first steps that comes to mind when most people think about being "sexier."
Restoring your gut flora should be an important consideration if you're struggling to lose weight, as the make-up of gut bacteria tends to differ in lean versus obese people. This is one of the most compelling areas of probiotic research to date, and you can read about a handful of such studies here.
For instance, obese individuals may have about 20 percent more of a family of bacteria known as Firmicutes, and almost 90 percent less of a bacteria called Bacteroidetes than lean people. Firmicutes help your body to extract calories from complex sugars and deposit those calories in fat.
When these microbes were transplanted into normal-weight mice, those mice started to accumulate twice as much fat.ii So this is one explanation for how the microflora in your gut may play a key role in weight management.
Yet another study showed that obese people were able to reduce their abdominal fat by nearly 5 percent, and their subcutaneous fat by over 3 percent, just by drinking a probiotic-rich fermented milk beverage for 12 weeks.iii Given that the control group experienced no significant fat reductions at all during the study period, this is one more gold star for probiotics.
Why It's Imperative for Women of Reproductive Age to Consume Probiotics
You may find motivation to nourish your gut flora with a probiotic-rich diet because it may help you lose weight and make you appear sexier … but also important is the impact it can have on your future children.
Many women of reproductive age are deficient in beneficial bacteria—a deficiency that transfers to their babies and may set the stage for any number of problems! To get a solid understanding of just HOW important this is, I highly recommend reviewing the information shared by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride in the interview below.
She presents a fascinating and elegant description of the foundational conditions that contribute to such disorders as ADHD, learning disabilities and autism, along with a pragmatic approach to help circumvent and stem the autism epidemic—and it all begins with the mother's gut flora.
Dr. Campbell explains:
"The baby acquires its gut flora at the time of birth, when the baby goes through the birth canal of the mother. So whatever lives in mom's birth canal, in mom's vagina, becomes the baby's gut flora. So what lives in mom's vagina? It's a very richly populated area of a woman's body. The vaginal flora comes from the bowel. So if the mother has abnormal gut flora, she will have abnormal flora in her birth canal."
Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby's immune system. Hence, babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems. And that's where vaccines have the potential to wreak havoc. Vaccinations were originally developed for children with perfectly healthy immune systems, but according to Dr. Campbell-McBride, children with unbalanced gut flora are not fit to be vaccinated according to the standard vaccination protocol.
Is Yogurt a Good Source of Probiotics?
When most people think of increasing probiotics in their diet, they automatically think of yogurt, and specifically the heavily advertised brands that have recently come on the market with claims of bettering your digestive health. However, most commercial yogurts are not worse than worthless as they're pasteurized, they will be associated with all of the problems of pasteurized milk products and they typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, or artificial sweeteners, all of which will only worsen your health.
I plan on doing a full-blown report on this later this year with Cornucopia that will go into far more specific details. That said, yogurt made from organic raw milk is an outstanding source of probiotics, as are other naturally fermented foods, such as:
- Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
- Fermented milk, such as kefir (a quart of unpasteurized kefir has far more active bacteria than you can possibly purchase in any probiotics supplement, and it's simple to make at home)
- Various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots
- Natto (fermented soy)
Eating fermented foods like these regularly will help to "reseed" your body's beneficial bacteria, which is under constant assault from antibiotics, chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, the metabolic byproducts of stress, and poor diet, especially sugar consumption. Eating sugar actually nourishes the bad or pathogenic bacteria yeast and fungi in your gut. So tending to the bacteria in your gut is an ongoing process, much like tending to a flower garden.
If you do not consume traditionally fermented foods on a regular basis, a high-quality probiotic supplement is one of the few I do recommend – but one of the major results of eating a healthy diet like the one described in my nutrition plan is that you stimulate your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish naturally, and they secondarily perform the real "magic" of restoring your health and also, perhaps, your "sexiness."