Gut health: Your Guide to Prebiotics

So, you’ve just got your head around probiotics, but what about prebiotics? To maintain optimal health, it’s essential to incorporate both into your diet to keep your gut – and consequently the rest of your body – tickety-boo.

Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’. Think kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha. These fabulous, fermented foods contain millions of friendly microbes that, once inside your gut, boost your body’s immunity, encourage healthy gut function and support your mental health. Collectively, they’re known as the microbiome or gut flora. Think of them as your personal and peace-loving inner army. But, remember an army marches on its stomach. So, what are you going to feed them?

 

That’s where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are fertiliser for the gut. Foods rich in carbs and dietary fibre, which humans can’t digest, are golden for your microbiota. These foods reach the colon undigested and are fermented by your gut flora, resulting in an array of health benefits for you. Bananas, legumes, oats, berries, asparagus and onions…the list is a long (and delicious).

Diversity, however, is key. And 60% of Brits don’t reach the daily recommended amount of dietary fibre a day. If you want to ensure you’re feeding your digestive bacteria properly, try to include two servings of fruit and five portions of vegetables (seeds and wholegrains count too) every day.

 

Top tips for a happier gut.

  • Raw is more. Raw food contains more prebiotics than cooked. Simply swap boiled vegetables for a fresh salad.
  • Caution! Prebiotics feed bad bacteria too so make sure you’re eating a balanced diet of whole foods and reduce your sugar intake. Too much sugar and processed food creates an imbalance in the gut.
  • Water, water, everywhere. If you’re not used to a lot of fibre it can be a shock to the system at first. Stay hydrated with plenty of water. Keep a bottle with you through the day to sip on.

 

Prebiotic picks. Our favourites include:

  • Artichokes – rich in folate which supports healthy cell division (great for pregnant women or those who want to start a family). Folate also stimulates bile flow which helps digestion and supports liver health. Contains a number of flavonoids that feed the good bacteria and promote a balanced inflammatory response.
  • Blueberries – rich in antioxidants so help to buffer inflammation.
  • Flax seeds – rich in omega 3 fatty acids so a great plant source of healthy fats.
  • Bananas – gentle on the gut and have mucilaginous effect which essentially translates into ‘better gut function’.
  • Oats – known for their beta-glucans and their effect on insulin and blood glucose modulation.
  • Mushrooms – stimulate immune cells and therefore modulate immune response.
  • Garlic – anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. Inhibits plaque formation on top of the standard prebiotic benefits.

Are you worried you’re not getting enough variety in your diet? We create nutritionally balanced meals, packed with an array of prebiotics, to help keep you (and your gut) healthy. Order now