Probiotics and prebiotics both serve important health functions for the human gut. Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside your gastrointestinal tract. They aid in digestion by essentially cleaning out the gut so that things keep flowing.
Like all living things, probiotics need to be fed in order to remain active and healthy and to benefit you as much as possible. Probiotics feed on prebiotics.
How to Get Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a type of fiber which are made up of indigestible plant fibers. They feed the probiotics, or good bacteria, already living inside the large intestine. The more food probiotics have, the more efficiently these live bacteria function and the healthier your gut will be.
You’re probably already ingesting prebiotics and may not even know it. They exist in many foods you may already consume on a regular basis.
Since fiber is the source of prebiotics, foods that are high in fiber are also often high in prebiotics. But not all are fermentable in your colon. These are the ones that feed your good bacteria:
- Raw chicory root.
- Raw Jerusalem artichoke.
- Cooked or raw onion.
- Raw dandelion greens. Check out this recipe: Dandelion Greens and Belgian Endive Salad
- Raw garlic.
- Unripe banana – yes, this feeds your gut bacteria in its unripened form. Eat it green! A ripe banana simply converts to sugar in your body.
- Raw leeks.
- Raw asparagus.
Make sure to drink lots of water to move the fiber through your digestive system. Half your body weight in ounces is a good rule. For example, a 130 pound woman would need to drink 65 ounces of water a day.
This can be herbal iced tea (no sweeteners!) or flavored water (fresh cucumber, strawberries, mint, basil, etc.) Start with a tall glass or two of water upon awakening and the same amount a few hours later and you will be able to achieve the total number of ounces by the end of the day.
I sip water throughout the day and don’t go anywhere without my Swell bottle!