Prebiotics are a type of fiber that feed the probiotics (good bacteria) in our gut and intestinal tract. Like probiotics, they are naturally found in the foods we eat but can also be taken in the form of a supplement.
The Effect on Our Bodies
We all have a mixture of good and bad bacteria living in our gut and intestinal tract. Probiotics, the good bacteria, help your gut and the rest of your body function properly. Probiotics help with digestion, improve mood, signal neurotransmitters, stop leaky gut and so much more. While it is important to have a diet rich in probiotics, marketing has become misleading on what is actually a beneficial probiotic. Probiotics are tricky because most of them, administered orally are unable to survive digestive stomach acid. While a few are able to survive and make it into the small intestines to help repopulate the good bacteria, most are digested as fuel for the body. Marketer's have picked up on the probiotic trend and begun labeling products such as yogurt, kombucha, aged cheese, and fermented food as good sources of probiotics. While these foods do contain some level of probiotic strains they often contain sugar, yeast, or histamine that end up feeding bad bacteria growth. The best way to get a healthy dose of probiotics is to take supplements and talk with your doctor about strains that are best for you.
Gut health is a constant journey. Your gut will always require fuel and maintenance to help keep a balanced microbiome. That's why it is so important to keep your diet centered around eating prebiotics. Since prebiotics are food for probiotics, they help repopulate the good bacteria and keep them thriving. While you can take supplemental prebiotics, the best way to add them into your daily routine is to eat a high fiber diet. Incorporating foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens into each meal will fuel your good bacteria and is a sustainable way to keep your gut healthy!
Each of these 'biotics' has a place in our health. But don't let marketers fool you, if you already have good gut function, stick to getting your daily dose of prebiotics and probiotics through natural, whole foods rather than processed food. The more we understand their role in our gut health, the better we can improve our overall health.
Did you know that fiber offers massive benefits for fat burning and building a stronger gut? The Bulletproof team dives into all the detail on this in their article: Fiber For Fat Burning and A Stronger Gut.
This Sri Lankan Instant Pot Cabbage recipe will help repopulate your gut with good bacteria. Cabbage is a soluble, prebiotic fiber that helps slow your metabolism so your body can better absorb the vitamins and nutrients from your meal. This allows good bacteria time to grow while starving out bad bacteria.