Updated: Jan 29
My journey began in Colonic Hydrotherapy and digestive health back in 2006.
Pro & Prebiotics were in their infancy, and we only knew about one, Acidophilus. It was a temperamental soul that needed to be refrigerated, and then they were solely derived from animal. Wow, has this world changed! Now we have blends to suit various problems, from constipation, diarrhoea, post-use of antibiotics, traveller’s tummy to name but a few. There are numerous species. They are mostly all now vegan and can survive sitting on your bathroom shelf. Scientists continue to learn more and more each year about how they live and function within us.
There is often some confusion about their role in our health and what they are. Probiotics and Prebiotics are very different. We need them both to work closely together to support our digestive health.
Probiotics. These are living bacteria and yeast that, for the most part, live in the intestinal tract. This good bacteria helps to balance out the harmful bacteria in the digestive system. We get probiotics from foods and supplements.
On their own, probiotics have a limited effect. This is because they are easily destroyed. To live, probiotics need food. This is where Prebiotics come in.
Prebiotics are not live bacteria; they are a form of fibre. Probiotic bacteria in the gut digest fibre. These are found in the food we eat and supplements.
So, what role do these bacteria have in our gut?
Probiotics support our gut microbiome. About 80% of your immune system is in your microbiome, your body’s bacteria, which help your body with just about every process, including digesting your food, thinking clearly and even maintaining a healthy weight.
Gut dysbiosis is a term used when the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, which includes your stomach and intestines become unbalanced.
When your gut microbiome is balanced, you stay healthy, you’re in good spirits and have great energy. When it’s out of balance (dysbiosis), you are not functioning at your best and are walking towards a host of health issues.
The gut microbiome is destroyed by highly processed foods, sugars, antibiotics, chronic stress, anxiety, food poisoning, gastroenteritis and some medications. This list sadly goes on and on.
We can do a lot to help ourselves by maintaining the right balance of these bacteria present in our bodies and giving them the best possible environment to live in.
A few ideas of foods that contain Probiotics (bacteria)
Yoghurt with live cultures, Kefir, Buttermilk, Aged cheeses, Brined pickles & Olives, Sauerkraut, Apple cider vinegar, Kimchi, Pickled beets, Miso, Tempeh, Soy sauce, Traditional sourdough breads, coconut kefir.
A few ideas of foods that contain Prebiotic foods (food for bacteria)
Onions, Asparagus, Berries, Bananas, Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas, Cabbage, Leeks, Oats, Peas, Wheat germ, Wholegrain, Garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, Oatmeal, Barley, Flaxseeds,
Keeping a healthy balanced diet with lots of variety and seasonal fresh local foods will help support your gut microbiome. If you feel you would like to discuss Pro & Prebiotics as a supplement to your diet, please don’t hesitate to give me a call and we can discuss your options.
If I can help you in any way, please do get in touch.