Did you know that there are trillions of bacterial cells in your body and that most reside in your gut? No need to panic – these bacteria are considered part of your normal flora and are actually beneficial to your overall health and well-being. These bacteria enhance immunity, improve digestive health, assist in weight loss and help reduce inflammation.
Many of us have learned about probiotics – supplements or foods that contain these healthy bacteria. Food sources include: kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, miso and pickles. By consuming probiotics, we can colonize our digestive system with these friendly “gut buddies” and boost our health. However, just like us, these gut buddies need to eat. If we don’t feed them, they will starve and die. Then all efforts to improve our gut health are in vain!
This is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics, also known as resistant starches, are food for our “gut buddies.” Food sources include: green bananas, green plantains, parsnips, celery root, jicama, turnips, green mangoes, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, baobab fruit, leafy greens, onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes (not the same as regular artichokes and also known as sunchokes). There are also multiple prebiotic as well as prebiotic+probiotic supplements on the market.
Bottom line: Consuming probiotics is a quick and easy way to improve health. We just need to remember to feed them! So next time you eat your yogurt, slice some green banana on top and nourish your gut while nourishing your “gut buddies!”