Ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Well, it’s more like you are what you feed the trillions of little bacteria creatures that live in your gut.
Maintaining gut bacteria balance is important for many aspects of health and plays a huge role in overall mood, behavior, digestion, skin, hormones, and several other health factors. Since gut bacteria are responsible for carrying out a variety of important functions in the human body, you would be surprised at how many problems within the body can be traced back to gut health.
Some of these important functions include:
- Protection against metabolic diseases
- Help maintain a healthy body weight
- Product important short-chain fatty acids
- Train the immune system to work optimally
- Deter pathogens that could make you sick
- Maintain the intestinal lining against ‘leaky gut’
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve symptoms of depression
There are two main ways to keep your gut healthy and the combination of both is most ideal.
1 - Help the bacteria already in the gut grow by feeding them the foods they love (Prebiotics)
2 - Add more living bacteria to your system (Probiotics)
Let’s break it down even more.
Prebiotics can be found in fruits and vegetables rich in fiber. To get a little scientific, your body cannot break down these fibers, so they pass through the digestive system and become food for those gut creatures. The list of high prebiotic foods is quite extensive, but includes:
- legumes, beans, and peas
- Cold potato / pasta
- Jerusalem artichokes
- dandelion greens
Probiotics differ because they contain living strains of bacteria to add to the already existing gut ecosystem (commonly referred to as the microbiome). You can get probiotics from both supplements and foods including:
- Yogurt with live cultures ***
- kombucha tea
- Soft, raw cheeses
- kefir (dairy and nondairy)
- pickles and other pickled vegetables
To easily incorporate probiotics into daily lifestyles, supplements are often recommended. That is why we love the brand Gryph and Ivyrose - they source their organic herbs with quality, purity, and efficacy in mind, ensure all products are 100% vegetarian and made without any chemicals, and prioritize sustainability in their processes and packaging. At Flower + Stone, we have lots of wellness products for both children and adults, but here are a few favorites from Gryph and Ivyrose:
Raw cacao, certified organic, chocolate containing 15 billion probiotics and natural prebiotics each. They are perfect for daily use to maintain a healthy digestive tract.
The finest raw, organic, and fair-trade cacao with 3 billion CFU's of active probiotics & natural prebiotics. The perfect delivery system for our picky littles ones.
A powerfully potent probiotic with prebiotics in a tasty certified organic chewable format. A convenient way to get 18 billion CFU's per serving. Replenish your child's digestive system depleted by stress, antibiotics, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Also great for daily use for adults.
So how do we optimize our gut health? This is where probiotics and prebiotics come in: getting a combination of both can help ensure the right balance to keep your gut microbiome healthy. So the healthier the gut is, the healthier and happier you will be! Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not quite. You have to find the best prebiotic and probiotic combination that works for your unique gut microbiome. Having too much fiber, citrus-heavy fruits, beans, or other prebiotic foods can hurt digestion. With probiotics, consider consulting with a healthcare professional to find the right balance, strains, and supplements for you.