We all have a unique microbiome, filled with 100 trillion microorganisms. These microorganisms consist of microbes known as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. Although the term “bacteria” may sound bad, our gut flora is filled with both good and bad bacteria.
What are probiotics?
The good bacteria are known as probiotics. Probiotics are the live microorganisms that help fight off the bad bacteria and keep our bodies in a balanced state. The bad bacteria tend to cause inflammation, infection, or other illnesses and diseases.
Why do we need them?
Consuming probiotics, either through food or supplements, is a great way to add the good bacteria and knock out the bad bacteria. Next, probiotics have other benefits such as assisting in digesting foods, creating vitamins, cultivating breakdown, and absorbing medications. Additionally, they help support cells in our gut lining to prevent the bad bacteria from entering our bloodstream.
Research is continually being conducted to determine if probiotics are beneficial for the conditions listed below:
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Yeast infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Gum disease
- Lactose intolerance
- Upper respiratory infections
Step one: consume probiotics in food
Start adding probiotics through whole foods first. Although probiotics can be consumed through supplements, it is best to start adding them into your diet gradually to avoid excessive bloating and gas. Foods that are high in probiotics are:
- Miso soup
- Cottage cheese
Step two: consume probiotic supplements
Once your body has adjusted to these foods and you have minimized symptoms, you can onboard a probiotic supplement.Also, keep in mind that storage is a key component. Most probiotic supplements need to be stored in a place protected from heat, oxygen, light, and humidity, such as the fridge. Typically, the fridge is your best bet. Lastly, timing and composition of food may be important but may also differ based upon the type of strain you are consuming. Some may recommend consuming on an empty stomach or 30 minutes before a meal while others may encourage you to consume food that has little fat/carbohydrates for the bacteria to survive in the digestive tract.
What are prebiotics
In order to encourage probiotic health, prebiotics may be beneficial to consume. Prebiotics are fermented and metabolized by the probiotics to be used as a source of food.
Research continues to be conducted, but the benefits of prebiotics can range anywhere from:
- Regulating bowel movements
- Assisting in hormone communication
- Stimulating hormone production
- Enhancing anti-inflammatory response
- Increasing production of the good bacteria
Prebiotic food sources
There are plenty of food sources containing prebiotics that are mostly considered complex carbohydrates (inulin resistant starches, and pectin).
- Boiled/chilled potatoes
- Dandelion greens
- Green beans
As mentioned previously with probiotics, do not immediately start consuming all these foods at once; gradually introduce these high fiber products to avoid gas. If you are consuming fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, you will be consuming prebiotics as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
In summary, we should add both probiotics and prebiotics to our nutrition. Whether you choose a food source or supplement, there are numerous benefits to their consumption. If you have been interested in learning the root cause of your health issues and would like to transform your health, we want to connect. Read about our program Achieve Results System here, and complete the waitlist form to be contacted by our team within 24 hours.