We have bugs in our belly and we want them there. They’re called gut microbiota. Healthy gut microbiota not only helps us digest our food, but also extracts nutrients from our foods to contribute to our good health. Creating a healthy environment in our belly for the good belly bugs to grow and do their job depends on what we eat. So, let’s talk about that…
Prebiotics are foods for the good guys. Essentially, prebiotics are foods that cannot be digested. These non-digestibles are fermented by good gut bacteria, which then stimulate growth of more good bacteria. Prebiotics are foods, such as leeks, garlic, onion, asparagus, artichokes, raw honey, legumes, and fiber in vegetables, nuts and seeds. Also, great news for chocolate lovers…new research has shown that dark chocolate also contains these non-digestibles. Stick with 80% cacao or higher with a low sugar content. Click for my favorite 80% organic dark chocolate bar.
Probiotics are live good bacteria that can be ingested to colonize in your gut. This colonization is temporary, so you need to consume these regularly. These live cultures can be found in supplements and in naturally fermented food sources, such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt and kombucha.
So, what not to eat? Sugar, processed foods, conventional dairy, animal fat and rich animal protein. Yes, there are bad guys living in your belly, too. When they get fed, they wreak havoc by causing inflammation that you feel digestively as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. The long-term effect can contribute to leaky gut, which is the precursor to a host of more serious illness and disease in the body.
Yikes, right? What we eat really matters. To keep it simple…eat less sugar, fried foods, red meat and foods in a box to keep the bad guys away, and fill your belly up with the good buggers by eating whole foods - the way nature intended.
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Angelo, Giana, Ph.D. "Probiotics and Prebiotics: The Bacteria That Live in Your Gut and Affect Health." The Linus Pauling Institute Spring/Summer.2014 (n.d.): 12-13. Print.
"4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease - Dr Axe." DrAxecom. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.
Ellis, Marie. "Gut Bacteria Play a Role in Why Dark Chocolate Is Good for You." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.