Is it time to pimp your gut bacteria?

Did you know your body has a second brain?

Well, apparently it does and it’s called your gut. If you’re thinking this doesn’t include you because you don’t have tummy troubles, think again, the state of your gut is responsible for a lot more than you realise. The fact is that many medical problems have their origin in the gut, including some headaches and migraines.

In a society drenched in Instagram photos of the latest stars and health conscious set drinking Kefir and Kombucha, supporting your gut with ‘friendly’ bacteria has never been easier.

If you could do with some help and guidance on demystifying your ‘probiotics’ from your ‘prebiotics’ that work together to support a healthy gut then read on….

Probiotics need prebiotics

I try to include as many probiotic foods in my diet as I can. What I didn’t realise was that probiotics are not particularly effective unless you combine them with ‘prebiotics’. When you think about it, it makes total sense. Would you go outside for a walk without putting your shoes on? Unless you are on a sun-drenched beach, I suspect not. Well, the same goes for ‘prebiotics’ and ‘probiotics’, they are a match made in heaven and they work better side by side.

Marina Green, nutritionist, and joint founder of The Green Ward, specialists in Nutrition and Personal Training recommend that it’s important that you include both ‘pre’ and ‘pro’ biotic foods in your daily diet.

The difficulty with Crohn’s is that our absorption of nutrients from the food we eat can be limited, hence my choice to supplement with supplements. I have been taking a high grade refrigerated probiotic (BioAcidophilus – high potency live bacteria) for years and it definitely helps to support it. I like to give my gut extra support by supplementing with live bacteria but there is no substitute for incorporating naturally probiotic and prebiotic foods in your diet:

Pimping your diet with prebiotics

  • Leeks, Asparagus, Artichokes
  • Bananas (especially green bananas) and apples
  • Seaweed
  • Oats
  • Cocoa
  • Elephant yam and certain other roots

If you are serious about injecting enough good bacteria into your diet why not try including prebiotics in your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast could be porridge with bananas. Lunch could include leek and potato soup and supper artichokes or a soup with seaweed. And, to top it all off some high-quality dark chocolate. What’s not to love?

Pimping your diet with probiotics

  • Sourdough
  • Yoghurt and Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cheese (certain types including cheddar, gouda and mozzarella)
  • Miso
  • Kombucha

Marry up the prebiotics with some probiotics. At breakfast, try swopping your ‘ordinary’ bread for sourdough (delicious toasted) with some continental hard cheese. At lunchtime, add a spoonful of sauerkraut to your salad with some natural yoghurt as a dessert or afternoon snack. At supper time, try marinating meat or fish in miso or add it as a salad dressing perhaps.

The above lists are by no means exhaustive so do some research on how you might ‘pimp’ your food preferences to form better friendships with the bacteria in your gut. You’ll find that these are friendships worth forming that’ll serve you well.

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