Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut microbiome for weight control, immune health & more!
Trillions of living microorganisms residing in your gut are responsible for breaking down incoming food, absorbing nutrients, and providing immune protection from foreign pathogens. Healthy microbes create and protect the mucosal lining of the GI tract to block toxins from getting direct access to your bloodstream. Any disruptions in this protective barrier allow foreign pathogens to seep into the bloodstream creating what’s known as a leaky gut.
Leaky gut syndrome increases the risk for infection and disease. Blood glucose levels rise as well as cholesterol, which increases the risk for both cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, a balance of healthy bacteria in the gut can not only help treat these conditions but may even prevent certain diseases.
A diet high in sugar and processed food intake, as well as low in fiber feeds unhealthy gut bacteria and is more prone to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Routine soda and alcohol intake disrupts healthy gut bacteria from thriving. Frequent antibiotic use, high stress, and poor sleep quality are also associated with poor gut health.
Colorful plates with fresh fruits, veggies, and other fiber-rich foods are a great way to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of foods to build a strong gut microbiome.
Foods high in Probiotics
Many fermented and pickled foods are high in probiotics. Yogurt is known for its live cultures to support gut health. However, eating yogurt with added sugars from candy pieces and fruit jelly blends defeats the purpose if you ask me. So when looking for yogurt choose plain Greek yogurt and add your own sweetness with whole fruit and honey.
- Pickles (homemade)
- Pickled Onions
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Foods High in Prebiotics
Prebiotics are food sources for healthy bacteria. They can replicate and thrive better when they are fed with prebiotic foods. Fiber helps strengthen good bacteria, so the more fiber you eat, the stronger your gut function to fight disease and regulate your weight.
- Beans/Lentils, peas
- Bananas (unripe/slightly green)
- Oats/Barley: Whole Wheat bread or pasta
- Savoy Cabbage
- Natural honey
Taking a daily probiotic supplement is a convenient way to benefit from a “healthy” diet without having to eat a wide variety of foods you may not like. Although obtaining natural probiotics from food sources is best, it may limit the strains of probiotics that you’re exposed to, especially if you’re a picky eater. Taking a probiotic supplement with a wide variety of strains can help amplify your gut health.
When starting to add more pro-and prebiotic foods into your diet or even a supplement, you may experience some gut discomfort. It’s not uncommon to have some bloating, gas, and bowel changes initially. These are actually considered good signs that these live organisms are working in your gut. Start introducing agents slow at first and allow your gut to build tolerance. Symptoms should level off in a few days but can take up to two weeks to get fully adjusted.
Probiotics are considered to be generally safe, but it’s always best to check with your PCP to see if they are right for you.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.