Let's Talk Prebiotics


Number 3: Let's Talk Prebiotics

How much do you know about prebiotics? Not to be confused with probiotics, mind you. Probiotics are actual living organisms that are found in foods like yogurt with live cultures, kefir, and sauerkraut that hasn’t been pasteurized. Prebiotics on the other hand are compounds found in food that serve as food and promote the growth of microorganisms including those in your gut. In the context of improving your microbiome, they are foods you eat to help encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria throughout your digestive tract.   

Prebiotics are mainly different types of plant fiber since this is the preferred diet of the bacteria and fungi living in your gut. Those organisms consume the fiber, using it to multiply and even providing the body with beneficial byproducts like vitamin b12 for example. There is a lot still to learn about this process and how the symbiotic relationship between our microbiome and our body works, but we know enough to realize that our diet has a major impact here.   

Each different type of bacteria, fungi, and yeast that make up our varied microbiome prefers a different type of fiber or food. Some of the bacteria that aren’t beneficial, and can actually harm our health and well-being thrive on sugar. Others prefer simple carbohydrates like those found in white bread. Beneficial organisms on the other hand prefer complex carbs and various types of fiber like those found in whole foods like an apple or a stalk of celery. When it comes to our biome, too much of a good thing can be bad. The various types of bacteria balance each other out and work together. We don’t want too many or too few of any particular group.   

The best way to achieve this is by eating a variety of prebiotic foods on a daily basis. Focus on plant-based whole foods. Choose multiple grains, herbs and spices and as many different fruits and vegetables as you can. Eat some of them raw, and some of them cooked where applicable. This will help you provide the preferred food to as many different microorganisms as possible. In turn and over time you’ll create a flourishing microbiome that will serve your body well.   

If you are taking a probiotic it is important to include plenty of prebiotics as well. This way you are giving the live cultures from your yogurt, kefir, cheese, sauerkraut, or commercial probiotic the best chance to not only establish but thrive in your gut. Give it a try and see if you don’t start to feel healthier and more energetic with the addition of plenty of diverse probiotics. 

Check back in a few days to learn about the next way to improve your gut microbiome. I'd love to hear your thoughts aon prebiotics - feel free to leave me a comment below!

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