Nutrition and Gut Health

Science is discovering that your gut plays a large role in your overall health. The bacteria and microorganisms in your digestive system make up your microbiome. A healthy microbiome can affect your mood, immune system, skin, weight, and level of inflammation. Encouraging the growth of ‘good’ microbes with a diet high in plant fiber and lower in fat, sugar, and processed foods can help you maintain a healthy gut.

Probiotics are the necessary beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. They keep your gut running well and make it hard for ‘bad’ bacteria to thrive. Probiotics include foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi (a kind of Korean fermented side dish), pickles, kombucha (a fermented tea drink), unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and kifer (a fermented milk product).

Prebiotics are foods necessary for the probiotics to grow and flourish. Prebiotics include foods such as apples, asparagus, bananas, beans, barley, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onions, oats, lentils, and whole wheat.

There are pills available that contain a few strains of probiotic. However, actually consuming the foods listed above will provide a better mix of probiotics and will be a tastier and healthier addition to your diet.

Article Source: Mary Grider, Nutrition Educator

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