By now everyone has heard of probiotics – the “friendly” bacteria living in your gut. These probiotics help maintain the integrity of your gastrointestinal tract. As you know (and may have experienced), when your gut health is compromised, you can experience a variety of health ailments such as eczema, depression, anxiety, brain fog, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances/allergies….the list goes on and on. However, did you know that prebiotics are the precursor to good gut health? In order to feed those “good” bacteria we need to have an adequate amount of prebiotics and the right quantity varies from person to person.

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestive fiber that stimulate and enhance the growth of our bacteria (probiotics). Not only do they provide nutrients to probiotics, but when fermented they create short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs, mostly from inulin and fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), can help improve laxation, strengthen the gut barrier and may decrease cancer risk. We receive the most benefit when we consume both pre and probiotics, which is referred to as synbiotics.

Which foods contain prebiotics?

Fortunately, prebiotics are naturally occurring in many plant foods because they’re comprised of nondigestible fiber. Get your prebiotics from a diet that includes a variety of high-fiber fruits and vegetables. Below are the top prebiotic foods.

Superfoods For Your Microbiome

  1. Garlic
  2. Onion
  3. Jicama
  4. Apples
  5. Chicory
  6. Leeks
  7. Jerusalem Artichokes

Individuals with digestive disorders, such as IBS and those managing their weight, could benefit from adding prebiotic rich foods. If you follow a certain diet or have trouble eating prebiotic foods, supplementation may be necessary. Additionally, not all can tolerate prebiotic foods, particularly those on a low FODMAP diet. We’ll need to work on healing your gut before we add in prebiotics.

When adding prebiotics to your diet, it is important to start slow because eating large amounts at once can cause bloating and flatulence. If you need help with digestive health and/or are struggling with weight management, make an appointment with one of the providers. We’ll find the right pre and probiotic amount for you. We’ll get your gut happy, your mind more clear and you feeling your best. Cheers to good gut health!

Margot Witteveen, MS, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who joins CentreSpring MD after practicing in Atlanta since 2008. As an RDN, with a certificate of training in adult weight management, Margot counsels clients on weight loss, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, GI issues, wellness, and pre/postnatal nutrition.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Margot Wittenveen.

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Categories: Gut Health