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Prebiotics: What they are and why you should care
We’ve talked A LOT about the microbiome and how probiotics found in fermented foods can contribute to your health. Now, let’s dive into the world of PRE-biotics, as they may even be more important than probiotics in your diet when it comes to changing your gut.
What are probiotics?
Quick refresher! PRO-biotics are specific bacteria you ingest, usually in the form of a pill or a fermented food, that (hopefully) go directly to your gut and take up residence in your natural microbiome. An abundance of bacteria in your gut is correlated with countless health benefits, so probiotics hold great potential to do good if they actually make it there!
What are prebiotics?
PRE-biotics are food for the friendly bacteria that live in your gut. Prebiotics come in the form of polyphenols or fibers, found in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and fermented foods. Your body can’t digest these compounds, but your gut bacteria can. The microbiome is healthiest when its bacteria have a variety of prebiotics to eat – that's when the good bacteria can grow, be diverse, and be truly abundant. This is when the magic of a happy gut happens!
Unfortunately, our healthcare system in general is nowhere close to being up to date on the science as it relates to gut health, so we shouldn’t expect official recommendations for daily prebiotic intake for some time. That said, the science is extremely strong: experts and nutritionists agree that taking time to address and prioritize gut health may improve almost every area of our health, not just digestion.
In summary, it won’t be until you incorporate prebiotics along with a healthy diet, that you tap into the FULL power of your gut. My opinion? The easiest way to do it = fermented foods!
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