Digestive Health



            There are many things you can do for your health. One of those things is managing your diet for optimal digestive health. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has recommended including Prebiotics and Probiotics. These can be found in certain foods, and one does not have to solely rely on dietary supplements.  Consuming them from their food sources first is best because they are more readily available for absorption and digestion.

Prebiotics:
  • These are natural, non-digestible food ingredients that help promote helpful bacteria in your intestinal tract. They help improve gastrointestinal health and improve calcium absorption.

Probiotics:
  • These are the actual “good bacteria” also referable to as live cultures. These bacteria aid in repopulating and balancing the bacteria in your gut. Additionally, this functional component works to boost immunity and overall health.
  • Some probiotics have been used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, and more. However effects vary from person to person.

Addition of Prebiotics and Probiotics into your diet:
  • Prebiotics have fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). Some examples of these are inulin and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). Specific foods that contain these components are bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and whole-wheat foods.
  • Probiotics can be found in fermented dairy foods like yogurts, aged cheeses and foods that include live cultures. Other non-dairy foods that include live cultures are kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and soy beverages.

Why do they work well together?

             Prebiotics make it easier for probiotics to establish themselves in the gastrointestinal system. Food products that combine these two things together are called synbiotics. An example of this would be putting bananas on top of your yogurt. Check food labels when buying groceries to include both prebiotics and probiotics in your diet. Many labels will preclude to this by stating “nutrition boosters” or “promotes a healthy digestive system”.

Remember that lifestyle changes take time and you will want to start off slow when changing your diet. Your body may take some time to adjust to your new food intake and eating schedule.

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