There’s a new Healthy Gut Buzz word in town!
Let me introduce you to Prebiotics … but first, let’s take a quick look at their “big sister”…
Probiotics have been the healthy gut buzz word for over 10 years. Research has proven and shown that probiotics are good bacteria which displace bad bacteria in our intestines. In turn, the more good bacteria we have in our intestines, the healthier our digestion, immune system and mental health and the more we can prevent and even treat certain health conditions.
Some of these conditions include psoriasis, eczema, lupus, indigestion, SIBO, IBS, allergies, blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid, bladder infections, bacterial and fungal infections, vaginal infections, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis and the list goes on!
Probiotic bacteria helps the body produce B vitamins and vitamin K and increases the absorption of minerals. It also helps with protein digestion and converts flavonoids to usable forms. From an immune perspective, good bacteria has anti-tumor and anticancer effects .
Even if probiotics are the powerhouse to our health, they need a crew to help them grow and proliferate.
Drum roll please…… Please put your hands together for …. Prebiotics!
Prebiotics work synergistically with probiotics, just like vitamins and minerals work together and need each other for optimal functioning. You can’t have one without the other!
Prebiotics are sugar molecules and the most common are inulin and FOS or fructooligosaccharides. They act as food for probiotics and so they help nourish them so they can grow and multiply as this is a strength in numbers game! It is important to note that some people may develop bloating and gas from taking supplements with FOS or from foods containing FOS and inulin (most common are chicory, honey and Jerusalem artichoke). Usually, these symptoms diminish and then eventually disappear after a few weeks. It is wise to slowly work up to the ideal 8-10g/day of total FOS over many weeks or months, but please keep in mind that everyone is different and will react differently.
I always recommend my clients keep a food journal to write down what they are eating and supplements they are taking, how much, time of day and how it made them feel. This is a helpful tool not only to get more in tune and aware of how you feel but should you decide to work with a holistic nutritionist, this will be used as a reference guide.
Prebiotics are just as important if not MORE important than taking probiotics alone. Here are my top 20 picks of prebiotic food. Make sure to include some of these with every meal or have them as a snack:
- Banana (greener is better)
- Cacao nibs
- Dandelion greens
- Flax seeds
- Grassfed Ghee/butter
- Honey (raw unpasturized)
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Konjac/elephant yam
- Lipski, Elizabeth. “Digestive Wellness 4th Ed. Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Healthy Digestion”, New York, McGraw-Hill, 2012.