I shared about the benefits of restoring health to the gut in this post. Along with cleaning up your diet, the easiest way to start building a good gut environment is with the use of probiotics AND prebiotics.
In an effort to build a healthy gut, most people are quick to spend a lot of money on probiotics.
But did you know you could be wasting your money if you aren't feeding your probiotics?
Here's how it works.
Healthy intestinal flora is promoted by eating probiotics, which are healthful living organisms present in certain foods that take up residence in your digestive tract.
Some examples of probiotics are fermented foods such as yogurt (high fat, no sugar), kefir,
sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, fermented soy products (miso, tempeh), kombucha drinks and
So, while probiotics help the healthy bacteria "move in", they need their own food to survive in the form of prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a form of soluble fiber - indigestible ingredients present in certain foods (or supplements) that nourish the healthy bacteria already living in your digestive tract.
Prebiotics are present in an assortment of foods such as asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks,
red wine, and honey.
However the best source of prebiotics is resistant starch.
Unlike regular starch, resistant starch is indigestible when consumed. It can't be digested by enzymes and it can't be absorbed as glucose. So, instead of being processed like regular food calories, resistant starch travels through the small intestine unscathed and into the colon where gut flora metabolize it into short chain fatty acids called butyrate, which is the prime energy source for your colonic cells. Butyrate communicates with your immune system, telling it to reduce the inflammation response.
Resistant starch has many other benefits as well:
Because it doesn't spike blood sugar, it actually lowers the insulin response to food.
Boosts the integrity and function of your gut
Eliminates harmful microbes
Promotes lowered body fat
Increases lean mass
Improves thyroid function
Initiates mental calm
Some of the best whole food sources of resistant starch include green bananas and green plantains, raw potatoes, cooked-and-cooled potatoes or rice (Eat them cold after they have been cooked).
The fastest and most reliable way to up your resistant starch intake is with raw potato starch or banana flour. There are around eight grams of resistant starch in a single tablespoon. But remember, once you heat these flours, they lose their resistant starch and instead become digestible carbohydrates.
Begin incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into your daily routine today.
I suggest starting on the weekend, as some people (especially those with poor gut health) may experience gas, bloating, and constipation. For most people this will lessen within a few days.
Begin with a good quality potato starch. Start with 1/2 tsp. in a glass of water in the morning right before you eat breakfast.
I am a fan of incorporating probiotics from fermented foods every day, such as kimchi on eggs, a few bites of yogurt or even a piece of dark chocolate with my meal. For those of you that just want a pill, here and here is a good source.
Once your body begins to adjust, you can work up to 1 tbsp. per day of resistant starch. This can be taken all at one time or throughout the day before each meal. But don't forget, you can certainly get good prebiotics from the whole food sources listed above.
How have you seen benefits from implementing pre and probiotics?