Gut Health - Prebiotics Versus Probiotics
Over the last few years, gut health has taken the spotlight in the media. A question I am asked frequently is how do I achieve good gut health? To have a happy gut, we need to include probiotic and prebiotic foods.
But how much do we actually know about probiotics and prebiotics?
As research is still developing regarding certain strains of bacteria and their importance in specific conditions, we still don’t know all that much. Which is why this area of nutrition is very exciting!
Today we will share the basics regarding what we do know about probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are live organisms (bacteria) when consumed in a food or supplement form, they set up camp in our gut. We know that having a diverse range of bacteria within us promotes a happy and healthy gut.
The way we were born (caesarean vs natural), our surroundings, medications, what we eat, drink and how often we exercise are all factors that contribute to our gut health. This explains why our bacteria alternates day-to-day and why every gut is as individualised as a fingerprint.
Examples of foods that are naturally high in probiotics: yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi.
Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics. Fermentable fibre is the part of food that are considered prebiotics.
Naturally, these foods resist digestion and travel to the large intestine. Once this fibre has reached the large intestine, the bacteria ferment the fibre. This results in some gas, which is why these foods tend to be known as the ‘gassy foods’.
Examples of foods that are known prebiotics: onion, garlic, wheat, nuts, legumes and cabbage.
The best way to achieve a variety of bacteria in our guts is to eat the rainbow every day. This means we need to eat a range of foods that have many different colours.
This is achieved through eating:
- two serves of fruits per day
- five serves of vegetables per day
- a handful of raw nuts as a snack per day
- adding garlic and onion to cooking each day
- enjoying grainy bread every day
- ensuring legumes (beans, lentils) are consumed during the week
- 500g or less of red meat per week (with a focus on including white meat, fish and vegetarian meals across the week to ensure a great variety)
If you have any questions about your gut health, please get in contact as we would love to chat with you!
Photo from Monash University: Prebiotics and probiotics: what are they and should I be including them on a low FODMAP diet?