Prebiotics & Probiotics: Let’s Talk About Gut Health.
It is Global Prebiotic Week (1st – 7th November).
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are the non-digested food ingredients that feed probiotics. They are found in the gut and help to increase the levels of healthy bacteria, support digestion and boost the production of vitamins.
Prebiotics vs. Probiotics explained
To simplify it, probiotics are beneficial bacteria but they need prebiotics to feed off and grow.
“Most people are severely deficient in probiotics” says Josh Axe, DC, a Nashville, Tenn.-based doctor of natural medicine and author of Eat Dirt.
Probiotics are killed by antibiotics in medications, meat and poultry raised on factory farms, fluoride and chlorine in drinking water; and other toxins. We all need to eat probiotic-rich, fermented foods, Axe says, and take supplements.
The importance of a healthy gut (especially during Covid-19).
Good bacteria is key in supporting the immune system, like most of us, you probably only ever think about your immune system when the winter appears. But with experts now telling us that a healthy immune system is key in the fight against Covid-19, immunity is more important than ever.
Your gut and your immune system are interlinked! They are not only connected but are virtually the same. Between seventy and eighty percent of your immune cells live in your gut (Source: NCBI).
What unbalances your gut?
Many factors need to be considered when talking about gut health. Our gut does have a hard time balancing itself without factors that are harming it with things like:
- Poor Diet - A weak nutritional diet makes all the wrong types of bacteria flourish in the gut leading to an unbalanced ecosystem.
- Medication - Anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and steroids are harmful to the gut and change normal digestive functions.
- Lack of digestive enzymes - Stress, acid-blocking medications and zinc deficiencies can all contribute to lack of adequate digestive enzyme function.
- Stress – Long term stress can change your gut nervous system, creating a leaky gut and changing the normal bacteria in the gut setting it off balance.
Rebalancing Your Gut
A healthy strong gut starts with what you eat. Balancing your prebiotic foods and probiotics are key to finding your balance. Below is a list of relevant foods for you to consider trying:
- Raw honey
- Chicory root
- Barely ripe plantains and bananas
- Sprouted whole grains
Or if you struggle to incorporate enough of these into your daily diet like the majority of us do, take a look at our prebiotics & probiotic supplement recommendations: