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What are the best prebiotic and probiotic foods?

To help support the balance of bacteria in our gut there are certain foods that should feature regularly in your diet. The two food groups you should include are prebiotics and probiotics.

Interestingly we are more bug than human. Within our gut it is said we have anywhere around 100-500 trillion bugs!

These bugs play a symbiotic role in our health, meaning we need them and they need us for survival and optimal health. Some of the many functions these bugs play include synthesizing vitamins, improving the digestion and absorption of the foods we eat and regulating immune function.

Unfortunately there are many things that can interfere with the balance between good and evil in our digestive system such as our diets, stress, antibiotics and other medications or supplements.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the bugs themselves. You probably would have heard of probiotics either as supplements or in certain foods that you can buy in supermarkets like yoghurts and some drinks.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics act as fuel for our probiotics, allowing helpful bacteria populations to grow. As a by-product of prebiotics feeding probiotics something called Butyric acid is produced. Butyric acid is the preferred fuel for the cells that line the colon and helps to acidify the environment in the gut, which will make it harder for harmful bacteria to survive.

To maintain a healthy environment in the gut consumption of prebiotic foods is crucial and as an added bonus consumption of probiotic foods can also be really helpful, especially those that are both pre and probiotic foods.

Fermented probiotic foods can be made at home. We are creating instructions and recipes to help you with this and you will find examples of this in our recipe section. Alternatively there are some store bought options as well.

As a side note – significant increase in pre or probiotic foods can initially upset the stomach so start slowly with your introduction of these foods. If symptoms like bloating persists even with low levels, then you may want to look into the possibility of some form of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) that may need investigating.

If reactions to probiotic foods are significant then additional investigation may be required to rule out issues like a histamine intolerance.

Probiotic Foods

  • Kimchee
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir (dairy, cashew or coconut milk based)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Yoghurt (plain)
  • Fermented Vegetables
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • Umeboshi Plums
  • Cottage cheese
  • Aged Cheese’s

Prebiotic Foods

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Aubergine
  • Banana
  • Asparagus
  • Legumes
  • Peas
  • Radicchio
  • Jicama
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kefir
  • Yoghurt
  • Leeks
  • Chicory
  • Chia Seeds

The above prebiotic list is not exclusive, practically all fruits and veggies have prebiotic benefits and the importance of eating as many different colourful fruits and veggies is important, not to mention their phytonutrient benefits.

For more information on how I work with my digestive health clients please check out my digestive health page or you can get in touch using the contact form below.

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