HealthNotes: Blog Edition

The Importance of Gut Health

June 18, 2019

This month, Frisbie dietitian’s share information about the importance of probiotics, prebiotics and gut health.

The human gut is composed of trillions of live microorganisms that promote normal GI function, protect the body from infection, and regulate metabolism. These organisms are responsible for more than 75% of the body’s total immune system! Gut health correlates greatly with overall health. A healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fiber, low stress levels, moderate exercise, health lifestyle choices and ingestion of prebiotics and probiotics from food sources may contribute to good overall gut health.

Diet has a profound impact on the good bacteria in our gut. In fact, these microbes rely on what we eat to live and function. This is where prebiotics and probiotics become very important. Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that our body cannot break down but the gut microbes ferment and digest. These prebiotics are essential for the “good” bacteria, probiotics, to grow.

Probiotics are live bacteria that are the same or similar to the bacteria found in the human body naturally. They are often referred to as “good” or “helpful” bacteria and are found in fermented foods. Eating these foods is how we introduce our bodies to the good bacteria. In other words, prebiotics are food for the good bacteria in our gut and probiotics add more good bacteria to the gut.

Foods with Naturally Occurring Pre- and Probiotics
Artichokes, Asparagus, Bananas, Kefir, Oats, Onions, Plums, Soybeans, Tempeh, and Yogurt

In a gut rut? Causes of “bad” bacteria overpopulation:

  • Antibiotics
  • Illness
  • Stress
  • Poor dietary habits (high-fat; high-fructose intake)
  • Poor lifestyle habits (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption

The Bottom Line:

When considering your personal diet, there are a few things to keep in mind in regard to prebiotics and probiotics. Everyone’s gut microbiome is unique and there are no established guidelines for intake of probiotics. Overall, a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods is recommended for the improvement and maintenance of gut health.

Source: Unidine

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