The lining of your gut is full of bacteria (good and bad) which create a micro-ecosystem called the microbiome (link to article). The microbiome plays a huge role in your health and what you eat can even have a big impact on your mood and behaviour. The two best ways to maintain this balance and increase of good bacteria: adding prebiotics and probiotics into your diet through food and supplements.
What are the benefits of good bacteria in our microbiome?
Good bacteria helps keep the microbiome balanced and healthy. Which means your body can better:• regulate the responses of the immune system • enhance absorption of vitamins & minerals • improve digestive issues • increase serotonin levels
So what exactly are prebiotics and probiotics?
Prebiotics: Specialized plant fibres that act as food to stimulate growth among good bacteria.Gut health starts with prebiotics, which are found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain high complex carbohydrates like fibre. These carbs aren't digestible by your body, so they pass through your system to become food for the good bacteria and other microbes. The best prebiotic foods to add to your diet: asparagus, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, apples, garlic, cocoa, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. You can also find prebiotics like chicory root fibre added to foods, snacks and beverages designed to optimize gut health. Probiotics: Living strains of bacteria that add to the population of good bacteria in your digestive system. The main difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut. This means that you cannot get probiotics from raw fruits and vegetables. Instead, you should add fermented and preserved foods to help support your gut microbiome. The best probiotic foods to add to your diet: coconut yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, sourdough and pickles.