By: Charlotte LaGuardia, Board Certified Nutrition Specialist, American College of Nutrition Member. Founder, Thrive East
Top Probiotics Help your Gut: Surprise Matcha is one of Them
We can’t talk about prebiotics without talking about probiotics and our microbiome. The microbiome is a community of bacteria that lives in our large intestine. This community weighs up to 3 pounds! We are born without this community so we must collect bacteria and let it develop overtime. Our first bacterial exposure is through the birth canal and breastfeeding. As we age, we begin to pick up more microbes through our environment and food. The microbiome is responsible for many important functions in the human body, it creates immune cells, peripheral neurotransmitters like serotonin, and plays a role in genetic expression.
Probiotics are the live or viable bacteria that we ingest for the purpose of supporting our microbiome. Recently, probiotic supplement use has been on the rise and can even be found in your local grocery store. However, probiotics are just one side of gut health. These bacteria need food too and feed off what are called prebiotics! Prebiotics are a type of resistant fiber that we don’t digest, they pass through the body with the purpose of feeding the bacteria in our gut. One way to think of this is the probiotics are the seeds and the prebiotics are the soil.
Prebiotics come from fruits and vegetables like:
- Konjac root
Additionally, non-fiber compounds like polyphenols can act as prebiotics and are found in the pigments of plants. These polyphenols support the microbiome by enhancing the production of short chain fatty acids, which are linked to lower inflammation, robust immunity, and a strong intestinal lining.
Polyphenol rich foods include:
- Red grapes
- Bell peppers
Including these fibers can help lower the glycemic index of your meal, which can improve the body’s blood sugar response. Additionally, prebiotic foods help to reduce constipation and strengthen the lining of the intestines.
Aim to include at least 1 serving of prebiotic foods with each meal – this can look like a side of asparagus with salmon or a matcha with a burrito bowl. Additionally, probiotic rich foods should be included in your daily diet. All you need is 1 TBS per day, this looks like roughly the size of your thumb!
Probiotic rich foods include:
- Fermented pickles
With any dietary adjustment it is important to take it slow and gradually build up to the suggested serving sizes. Additionally, if you notice any discomfort with any of these changes reach out to a trained professional like a nutritionist, registered dietitian, or gastroenterologist to discuss your symptoms.