On the internet you can find tons of information and everyday there are new studies about how important is to have a healthy gut for a healthy life, how to heal our gut or how our gut is one of the main reasons of our poor health.
Keeping the balance between good and bad bacteria in your digestive system determines how well we can absorb the nutrients from food and help us to fight inflammation, infection and illness.
An Oxford study confirms the direct relation between our gut and our brain. Anger, anxiety, stress and happiness are feelings that trigger symptoms in our gut, that’s the reason we say ‘I feel butterflies in my stomach’.
Many of us are already familiarized with probiotics and their big role to keep that balance. We have included kefir, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha into our daily diets and have already felt their magic effects.
If you keep reading about the magic world of having a healthy gut, you probably have heard about prebiotics, another substances that nourish the good bacteria. Yes, I know, probiotics, prebiotics, all can sound the same but don’t worry I am here to help you clarify the difference between them.
The following infographic is an easy and simple way to explain everything. It was created by Food Matters and I just wanted to share it with you.
Probiotics are good bacteria (live microorganisms) that reside in the gut. They are responsable for our immune system, digestion and the nutrient absorption into our bloodstream. When most of this good bacteria is killed, the bad bacteria (yeast and parasites) cause an imbalance in the gut, manifesting in constipation, colitis, eczema, arthritis, altered brain function…
The most common killers of our good bacteria are antibiotics, chlorine (found in tap and bottle drinking water), constipation, cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, stress, a diet high in fats or meats (non organic meat usually are loaded with antibiotics.
To optimize good bacteria, simple increase your intake of fermented foods as tempeh, miso, kombucha, kefir, buttermilk, sauerkraut … The fermentation process ‘pre-digests’ the food making it easier to absorb.
You can also find probiotic supplementation. Look of a probiotic blend that delivers at least 5-30 billion of live organisms. Side effects are rare, first could cause gas and bloating, but it subsides within a few days.
Prebiotics refer to natural soluble fibres that feed the good bacteria. In other words, prebiotics fuel our intestinal probiotics, promoting balanced gut flora.
Natural prebiotics are found in green leafy vegetables, citrus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, eggplant, asparagus, flaxseeds, chia, sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, leeks, cabbage and kiwi fruit.
So combining probiotic and prebiotic rich foods in our diet can help protect you against many mental and physical healthy related issues