So You’re Taking Probiotics – But Are You Feeding Them?

prebioticsProbiotics – they’re the good guys that hang out in our gut and keep our digestive system (and many other aspects of our health) running smoothly. But probiotics are living organisms and they need the right type of fuel to survive – That’s where prebiotics come in.

Prebiotics are types of indigestible fibres that feed the good bacteria in our gut to encourage their growth and activity. Essentially, PRObiotics feed off PREbiotics and so without them, that probiotic supplement won’t have the fuel it needs to survive and thrive. Prebiotics are found in many foods, such as:

  • Artichokes
  • Onions and leeks
  • Garlic
  • Chicory root
  • Dandelion greens
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Cacao powder
  • Almonds
  • Oats, and more

Prebiotics are integral to the health and diversity of the gastrointestinal eco-system, so if you want to look after your digestive tract, incorporating some of these foods into your daily diet is a great way to start. Coupling this with fermented foods and a wide variety of brightly coloured plant foods makes a fantastic foundation for ensuring a healthy GIT.

Therapeutically, we also use prebiotic supplements for a WIDE range of conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, repeated urinary tract infections, recurrent thrush, high cholesterol and even to boost immunity in children! They also promote satiety, increase resistance to infection and even improve insulin sensitivity. Because of these amazing benefits, we’ve seen wonderful results using prebiotics in clinic, and are excited to see where the future of prebiotic research takes us!

It really is true that health starts in the gut, and a healthy digestive system is integral to a healthy body!

If you’d like to know more about prebiotics and whether a prebiotic supplement might be right for you, booking an appointment with one of our naturopaths is a great place to start. You can also check out Bobbie’s vlog on the topic HERE. In the meantime, we’ve also listed some of our top tips for supporting digestive health below:

  • Incorporate a variety of fermented foods into your diet. This could include natural yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso. These foods contain probiotics (the good gut bacteria).
  • Throw in some prebiotic foods as well, such as those listed above. These foods feed the good bacteria in the gut.
  • Include as many varieties, colours and species of plant foods in your diet each week. Mix it up with different colours of rice, different types of lentils, various veggies, an assortment of fruit, a medley of nuts and seeds, and a variety of different wholegrains and pseudo-grains (such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and more).
  • Drink plenty of water to ensure your stay hydrated and that there is adequate fluid in your digestive tract to keep things moving through with ease.
  • Avoid alcohol and refined carbohydrates, like sugar, white bread, white pasta and other white flour products. These foods have little nutritional value, can be very constipating, and can promote the growth of the wrong types of bacteria in your gut.
  • Base your meals around a rainbow of plant foods (fruits and veg), with a handful of protein and some healthy fats of the side. Check out our post HERE for some more info on creating nutritionally balanced meals.