Eating too much junk food and not getting enough activity are tried and true ways of building a little jiggle through the middle. But after you've established a fairly healthy lifestyle of eating clean and moving more, your midsection should  be under a decent amount of control. One additional thing you can do to help yourself out on the quest for a flatter belly is to reduce the amount of bad bacteria and increase the amount of good bacteria.

Antibiotics, sugar, alcohol, steroids and unhealthy fats can all lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut. This is a really important thing to remember as about 70% of our immune system lives there. Chances are, if you're sick, your body's ecosystem that is the balance of good/bad bacteria could have very well had something to do with it! What's more, too much bad bacteria in the gut has been shown to promote obesity, particularly midsection fat.

If you're already overweight and don't have a good balance of healthy bacteria, trying to eat healthy can be an uphill battle. Despite the fact that bacteria are microscopic, they are greatly responsible for driving cravings - particularly when it comes to sugary foods. Too much sugar can cause the overgrowth and  perpetuate the desire to eat more.

The key to balancing the healthy bacteria in your body is by:

  • Eating clean, unrefined foods. If you're regularly eating foods from a box or container, or if you see the words high fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose or  enriched flour toward the top of an ingredient list, you're not eating clean.
  • Eat more healthy bacteria, or foods containing probiotics, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha
  • Eat more foods that feed the good bacteria, or prebiotics, including raw garlic, asparagus, leeks, cooked onions and Jerusalum artichokes.
  • Take a good, quality probiotic with both lactobacillus acidophilus (helps small intestine) and bifidobacterium (helps large intestine) about ten minutes before breakfast with a big glass of water.

Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.

Looking for a simple way to get into great shape and eat right? Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!