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Gut Reset Day 3: Prebiotics + Probiotics

June 14, 2019

 

 

Now that you know what prebiotics and probiotics are and how they work together to create a healthier gut, let’s look at the unique benefits of each and where you can find them.

Remember, foods you already eat (especially ones that have a high fiber content!) could be rich in prebiotics. Probiotics are a little harder to incorporate into your daily diet, but both are essential in maintaining a healthy and diverse microbiome.

 

PREBIOTICS:

WHAT ARE THEIR BENEFITS?

The benefits of prebiotics are similar to those of probiotics as they both enhance your gut flora. However, other benefits of upping your intake of prebiotics, include:

  • Improves digestion

  • Nourishes “good” bacteria

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Supports immune function

  • Improves cholesterol levels

  • Lowers risk for weight gain, obesity, and cardiovascular disease

  • Improves hormonal balance

     WHERE CAN I FIND THEM?

  •   Because prebiotics occur naturally in food, you can usually get enough of them from your diet without needing supplements.

Here are a few sources of prebiotics to explore:

 

FRUITS

• Berries
• Grapefruit
• Nectarines• Peaches
• Persimmon• Watermelon

 

VEGETABLES

  • Artichokes

  • Asparagus

  • Chicory

  • Fennel

  • Garlic

  • Green peas

  • Jicama

  • Onions

  • Potatoes

         

  •   LEGUMES

  • Black beans

  • Garbanzo beans

  • Kidney beans

  • Lentils

  • Navy beans

WHOLE GRAINS   

• Oats
 

NUTS AND SEEDS

  • Cashews

  • Flaxseeds

  • Hemp seeds

  • Pistachios    

WHAT ARE THEIR BENEFITS?

  • Improves digestion

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Increases immunity and may help protect from infection (reducing the need for antibiotics)

  • Lowers blood sugar

  • Enhances healthy skin

  • May improve some symptoms of mental illness,like depression and anxiety

     

  • WHERE CAN I FIND THEM?

  • Many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics and are often found in cultured dairy products and fermented foods.

    Here are a few sources of prebiotics to explore:

  • Kimchi

  • Kombucha

  • Miso

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut 

  • Tempeh

  • Yogurt

TIP:Although antibiotics are necessary to treat certain illnesses and diseases, frequent useor overuse can potentially wipe out the good  bacteria in your gut. Lack of friendly gut bacteria and microbial diversity can contribute to more serious health issues down the road.

 

PROBIOTICS AND BIO-INDIVIDUALITY

If you’re thinking about adding more probiotics to your diet, it’s important to understand that not all probiotic foods or supplements are created equally. Because probiotics are living microorganisms, different types may affect people differently.

The gut microbiome is complex, and without getting a true bacterial profile, it can be difficult to guess which bacteria are present in the highest quantity – depending on the probiotics you purchase, you may be getting strains that don’t necessarily need.

 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Refer to the gut-friendly shopping list provided at the beginning of this five-day reset.

  • Consider how primary and secondary food impact your microbiome. Which areas are imbalanced? What key pieces might you be missing? Again, this is highly bio-individual.

TIP:

If you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system, be cautious when deciding which probiotics to add to your diet. For instance, kombucha is unpasteurized and may not be recommended.

  • If you’re interested in taking probiotic supplements, consult a doctor or healthcare practitioner. You can also ask questions to a specialist in your health food store! Don’t rely on the Internet for everything.

  • Try to incorporate a variety of probiotic foods into your diet instead of focusing on just one. This helps increase diversity while reducing possible imbalances. For instance, you might get vitamin B12 from tempeh, vitamin K from pickles, and antioxidants from sauerkraut. By mixing it up and consuming a variety of beneficial nutrients, your gut flora may flourish.

  • Listen to your body and do what’s best for you. If something is upsetting your gut, it will tell you.

HOW TO FERMENT YOUR OWN VEGETABLES:

To add more probiotics to your diet and enhance flavors, you can ferment vegetables at home. It’s one of the oldest and most cost-effective ways to add nutrition to your daily diet; plus, only a few ingredients are needed, so the fermentation process is quick and simple!

 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 mason jar

  • 1 plastic or metal lid

  • 2 cups water

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt

  • Vegetables of your choice!
    (Popular ones include cucumbers and cabbage.)

    Instructions:

WARNING:

Not all homemade batches will turn out right! However, you should be able to tell by the odor or color of your vegetables. If you open the jar and get a foul smell, something isn’t right. The vegetables should also be bright in color, so if something looks gray or dull, it’s best to throw it away and try again!

  1. Wash vegetables thoroughly and cut into small pieces. (They need to be small enough to fit into your jar!)

  2. Massage vegetables to release any extra juice.

  3. In a bowl, mix water and salt together until salt dissolves.

  4. Pack vegetables into jar, leaving about an inch of space at the top.

  5. Add salt water to jar, making sure to cover all the vegetables.

  6. Close lid tightly and place jar in a dry area, out of direct sunlight at room temperature.

  7. Fermentation takes about 1–2 days to develop, so be sure to taste your vegetables periodically until they reach your desired taste! This might take anywhere from 2 to 10 days, based on your preference.

  8. Once you’ve finished, store the mason jar in the refrigerator for up to several months!

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