Healthy digestion relies on a good balance of gut bacteria and it is easy (and often correct) to assume that a good quality probiotic will help. However, did you know prebiotics are equally as important?
While probiotics are beneficial bacteria, introduced to the gut through foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and yoghurt or supplementation, prebiotics are crucial in setting the stage for those good
bacteria to thrive.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that pass through the small intestine intact and are digested and fermented by beneficial bacteria, ensuring that probiotics have a healthy environment and good food to survive and thrive. Prebiotics can positively alter our digestive health, and in turn have positive effects on bowel function, immune function, inflammation, cholesterol, and even
The good news is prebiotics are easily available in common foods. Many lists of the ‘best prebiotic
foods’ look something like this:
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Chicory root
- Bananas (green)
- Psyllium husk
With a note to suggest that they are best consumed raw for prebiotic benefits. This is a good list, but hard to add to the average diet!
For easier to accommodate options, try:
- Cruciferous vegies like kale, broccoli, and cabbage
- Apples (especially the skin)
- Cold cooked potato (Yes, the humble potato salad is back!)
- Cold cooked sweet potato
- Cold brown rice
- Pulses and lentils - the gas that some people experience from eating these is evidence of the
non-digestibility of these starches.
- And, most importantly, a wide variety of fresh, lightly cooked, or raw plant foods.
We really do not require a large amount of prebiotic foods to encourage good gut health. 3-5 grams of prebiotic per day may be enough and can easily be obtained by eating a healthy amount of good
While the preference is always to try and obtain good health through a dietary approach, there are times when a supplement might be useful in supporting healthy digestive function. Call into the ATUNE Herbal dispensary to discuss your gut health today.
Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash