Gut Health 101: Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Fermented Foods

April 6, 2024
Gut Health 101: Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Fermented Foods

Maintaining a healthy gut is vital for overall well-being. But what are probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods? How do they benefit your gut health?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed adequately. They are commonly found in fermented foods such as raw vegan yogurt, rejuvelac, kavass, and home made sauerkraut. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which is essential for digestion and overall health.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. They are found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Prebiotics help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help improve digestion and boost immunity.

Fermented foods undergo a process of lacto-fermentation, in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Some specific foods that are considered prebiotics include garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, chicory root, dandelion greens, apples, and flaxseeds. Prebiotics are not digested in the small intestine, so they make their way to the large intestine, where they feed the good bacteria.

As for probiotic-rich foods, some great options include raw vegan yogurt, rejuvlac, kavass and homemade sauerkraut. These foods contain live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health.

Incorporating probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods into your diet can positively impact your gut health. Keeping your gut flora balanced and healthy can improve digestion, boost immunity, and even improve your mental health.

However, it's important to note that not all fermented foods are created equal. Some commercially produced fermented foods may not contain live cultures of beneficial bacteria or may contain high amounts of added sugars, salts or preservatives, which can negate the potential health benefits.