Most American's have heard by now to take a probiotic daily. We are concerned about gut health and the good bacteria overpopulating the bad bacteria in our digestive tract. If you have already added a clinically tested supplement to your daily regime, thumbs up. But what about the food our good gut bacteria eat?
That is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are the foods that feed the probiotic bacteria in your gut. There are fibers that your body can’t digest, but your gut bacteria thrive on! In addition to feeding your body and your cells, you also need to feed the tiny bugs in your microbiome so they can produce all of those great byproducts our body needs, like short-chain fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
And, like any other living creature, probiotics can’t survive without food.
A prebiotic can be defined as anything that feeds or stimulates the growth of probiotic bacteria in a way that improves health. Think of the gut as a garden. Prebiotics are the fertilizer, and the bacteria are the plants. Your plants need fertilizer to grow.
The benefits of prebiotics include:
● increased calcium absorption, leading to improvement in bone density
● increased magnesium absorption
● boosts the immune system
● lowered cholesterol
● improved insulin sensitivity
● support with weight loss
● positive effect on leaky gut and fatty liver disease
So where do we get these amazing little bits of soluble fiber? All fruits and veggies. Soluble fiber is broken down and fermented by the bacteria in the colon, therefore, making it a prebiotic. Here is a list of the best:
● Jerusalem artichokes
● raw leeks
● raw garlic
● chicory root
● ginger root
● raw onions
● raw dandelion greens
● psyllium husk
Now the question is - can you get all you need from food? Well, just like probiotics, most likely not. It is best to take them together in a symbiotic supplement. I choose Amare MentaBiotics, which is a powder you can throw into water, juice or your morning smoothie. Click link in resources for more information. I do also add the foods above into my diet to often ensure the good guys are getting all they need to survive.
Do you currently take a pre or probiotic supplement?
Sources and Additional Reading:
Amare Global, 2018
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2018