The human gut contains a 38-trillion-cell universe of bacteria that provide essential health benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the incorporation of prebiotics and probiotics in our diets to promote a healthy gut.
In essence, probiotics are live micro-organisms that, when ingested, confer a health benefit. These health benefits include helpful interaction with the bacteria in the gut, improving the formation of enzymes, enhancing immune functioning, and improving the integrity of the gut barrier.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are basically nutrients that, when ingested, interact with the micro-organisms already existing in the body to confer a health benefit. Health benefits of prebiotics include feeding the gut microbiome, improving metabolism, promoting a feeling of fullness (which can help with weight management), and defending against pathogens.
So when we look at our diet, we may want to consider the role of prebiotics and probiotics in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Foods rich in prebiotics include apples, bananas, oats, and artichokes. Probiotics should be chosen carefully with the aid of a doctor, but they are available as supplements in many health stores.
Also, if you read our article on the role of fiber, then you know that a high fiber intake is great for the gut, supplying it with food and promoting cell growth. In general, a diverse, balanced diet with lots of plants increases your chances of a diverse, healthy gut microbiome and all the health benefits that come with it.
So when it comes to choosing what to eat, definitely listen to your gut.