Cultivating a healthy gut microbiome is key, prebiotics and probiotics play a major role in gut health.
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that act as food for probiotic bacteria. They pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, which stimulates the growth and/or activity of certain "good" bacteria in the large intestine. While all prebiotics are considered fiber, not all fiber has prebiotic properties.
Prebiotics are naturally present in foods such as chicory root, burdock root, garlic, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, chickpeas, lentils, bananas, oats, flaxseed and cashews – yet another reason why an organic, plant-rich way of eating is so important for our health and wellbeing. While some people choose to take a prebiotic supplement if they do not consume enough prebiotic-containing foods, there is no substitute for a "real food" way of eating when it comes to our health and vitality.
If you prefer to take an over-the-counter prebiotic, ensure it has a diverse range of fibers (FOS, GOS and Gum Arabic if possible), organic, additive free and cGMP-certified manufacturer
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. Or, more specifically, they are live microorganisms that benefit the host (you) when consumed in adequate amounts. Probiotics are typically taken in supplement form, however some fermented foods, such as some yogurts, unpasteurised sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha, are rich in beneficial bacteria.
The rationale for taking probiotic supplements is to populate the gut with a good balance of beneficial bacteria, however the question is, do the bacteria survive digestion to be able to take up residence in the large bowel? The stomach is a very acidic environment (and it should be for optimal digestion) so the probiotics must be able to survive an acid bath in the stomach in order to have any potential beneficial effects further down the digestive tract (in the large intestine). So whether or not a probiotic supplement is scientifically proven to survive digestion is an important consideration – in other words, the quality of the supplement matters.
The presence of "good" bacteria in our gut is definitely desirable. Rather than supplement probiotics, I encourage people to focus on real whole foods (including some fermented foods) when it comes to sustaining great gut health. Your gut microbiome is greatly influenced by the foods you eat, and, this is partly due to components of the food serving as nourishment for the beneficial bacteria.
If you prefer to take over-the-counter probiotics, make sure that it contains at least 20 billion live cultures and 10 different strains.
Antibiotics kill the microbiome in your gut. It's important if you have to take antibiotics, to also take probiotics to offset the damage of the antibiotics (e.g. overgrowth of yeast from bad bacteria because there is no good bacteria). Bad bacteria are the first to overgrow and cause bad food cravings, so the next time you're craving something unhealthy most likely, you may have an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut. Probiotics like kombucha grow and thrive in your microbiome and are fed by prebiotics found in plant foods such as lentils. Long story short, eat more plants.
*****disclamer: please seek the advice of a medical professional before taking dietary supplements******
I hope I was able to clear up some confusion about our microbiome and its importance to overall health and wellness. Below I have linked some pre and probiotic supplements that have great reviews online and meet all the criteria I have listed above. Eat well, live well!
Hello world! I am Chérie Jade, I am passionate about promoting a holistic lifestyle and encouraging preventative practices for day to day healthy living.