Prebiotics, Probiotics and Your Gut Health

Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Your Gut Health

Prebiotics Probiotics and Your Gut Health

Prebiotics, probiotics, and your gut health. You’ve all seen the commercials, right? Eat this yogurt and your tummy will feel great and you’ll be so healthy. Well, there is more to gut health than just eating some probiotic yogurt daily; especially if you have an existing gut health condition.

“Your body is full of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Trillions of these tiny microbes—collectively called your microbiome—exist mainly inside your intestines, in your mouth, and on your skin. They are with you from birth. And, surprisingly, that’s a good thing.

While some bacteria and microbes are potentially harmful, others are extremely important for supporting your health. Maintaining nutritional status, immunity, and the behavior of the brain are related to a healthy balance of these microbes.” (USANA/ Ask the Scientist)

What is a probiotic and what does it do?

Rhonda Nelson, Naturopath in Northern CA says this “Probiotics are really not much more than a traveling road show that passes through town every so often, bringing with it lots of activity, lights, banners, and excitement. The actors and backstage crew have no intention of setting up permanent residence in your hometown but instead are just doing their job for a few weeks, providing temporary benefit to the residents in the community. But once the show is over, it’s over. Everyone leaves town.  And there is nothing left but the dusty footprint of the big-top tent.”

I just love that analogy. It makes it clear that the probiotics are going to be a lot of fun while it lasts. So how do you get these good bacteria to set up residence? Well, you need to make it such a desirable place they won’t want to leave. What would make you not want to leave a place? Let’s see, maybe some good, healthy food and water. If the environment is not enticing enough, they will be on their way. Probiotics cannot be detected in the stool after about 2 weeks of non-use.

Getting probiotics from your diet is a matter of incorporating certain foods into your meals. Choose fermented dairies, like yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, and some types of cheese. If I eat soy, I like it to be fermented. Tempeh and miso are good fermented soy products. Fermented veggies like kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut make a great side to any meal.

Making sure your body gets good probiotics and prebiotics daily will ensure a healthy gut. Yogurt and kefir are two examples of foods that have both probiotics and prebiotics in them.

Probiotics are a lot of fun while it lasts, but how do you get the good bacteria to stay?

I saw this cartoon once that showed a nurse and a guy. The guy was holding up a bar stool. The nurse says to him, “That’s not quite the stool sample we had in mind, Mr. Smith.”

On a side note, did you ever wonder where the term stool, meaning bowel movement, came from? Well, way back before toilets and squatty potties, people would sit on a small stool and hang their butt over the edge to move their bowels. Hence, the term stool. You can use that one at your next cocktail party.

Diversity is the key

A characteristic of a healthy gut is the diversity of the microbes. Interestingly, that is true in life too. Studies show that diverse groups of people come up with better and more creative solutions to problem-solving. Nature is so amazing that way! The more diverse your microbial is, the more resilient it will be.

When your gut is loaded with a variety of friendly bacteria, there’s less possibility for bad opportunistic bacteria to overgrow.

Back to prebiotics

Diets rich in sugars, saturated fats, and processed food lack fiber. Diets that include lots of fiber, healthy fats, and plenty of whole fruits and veggies will enhance the variety of gut bacteria making your gut a happy home to good bacteria.

Prebiotics are food for your bacteria. So without a good food source, prebiotics, your bacteria won’t hang around.

You can also obtain them naturally from your diet by eating such foods as:

  • Jicama (yacon), Jerusalem artichoke, and chicory root all contain inulin, a form of prebiotic fiber.
  • Dandelion greens are leafy green vegetables that are made up of 25% prebiotic fiber.
  • Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, leeks, chives, and scallions are great choices. Add them to food raw for the best source of prebiotics.
  • Sprouted-grain breads
  • Wheat germ, whole wheat berries
  • Avocado
  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Potato skins
  • Asparagus
  • Apples
  • Barley
  • Flaxseeds
  • Burdock root
  • Apple cider vinegar (organic)
  • Bananas


Studies have shown that prebiotics can be effective in promoting recovery from food poisoning, eczema, metabolic syndrome, and possible may help prevent colon cancer.

What can prebiotics do for you?

Prebiotics can also help heal leaky gut, reduce your appetite and increase insulin sensitivity. That’s a good thing as if you are becoming insulin resistant, then your body is most likely holding weight around your middle. If your fasting glucose is over 100 and your Hemoglobin A1C is over 5.7, then I would suggest you ask your doctor to test your fasting insulin as well. With that information, you can know if you’re heading toward the pre-diabetic stage. If this is you, contact me and I would be happy to give you some easy solutions to get your blood sugar back on track.

It’s recommended you get about 5 grams of prebiotic fiber per day.

If you need a jump start on a healthy gut, you can try my 28-day clean eating program called Clear the Way. You can find that info on my website at Health Coach

Remember to add those healthy pre-biotic foods into your diet today.

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