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What To Eat Besides Probiotics for Optimal Gut Health

Posted by Carmen Chu on

Hippocrates, an Ancient Greek physician once said,
“All disease begins in the Gut.”
And over the years, more and more research has shown how crucial gut health is to our well-being.
 
Why?
The gut is often nicknamed the 'second brain' because of how significantly it can affect your mood and mental state. Healing your gut’s microbiome (basically all the bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic living things in your gut) allows your body to build a stronger immune system to produce the right kind of bacteria that signals your brain and body to function efficiently.
 
By having more healthy bacteria in your digestive system, your body will be able to better digest and absorb vitamins and minerals, regulate hormones, eliminate toxins, and produce nutrients. Many diseases, allergies, autoimmune disorders (irrritable bowel syndrome, acne, chronic fatigue), and mood disorders that may appear seemingly unrelated are actually caused by problems in the gut.  
 
Feeling anxious, depressed, or tired all the time?
The connection between the gut and the brain is actually more important than you think! The digestive tract produces 90% of the body’s serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that regulates mood levels. Thus, any disruptions to your gut will affect the production of serotonin, which ultimately inhibits your brain to function at its best.

Now that we have a better understanding of why improving your gut is so important, let’s talk about HOW we can do this.
 
Let’s start with the basics.
 
What are Probiotics?
You always see yogurt ads telling consumers that we should eat their products because yogurts are full of probiotics that helps support a healthy digestive system! Even though we often hear that we should take this supplement, many of us still don’t really understand what they are and how they actually work.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts found in supplement forms and foods such as yogurt, fermented drinks (kefirs & kombuchas) and fermented vegetables (sauerkraut & kimchi).

How Do They Work?

Probiotics are typically suggested if you have gut issues because they help to replenish the good bacteria back into your body. For instance, after taking antibiotics, it is really important to re-balance the good and bad bacteria so that your digestive system can optimally function again. There are different strains of probiotics that serve different purposes but usually a supplement would include all the major types.
 
For instance:
  • Lactobacillus: Most common probiotic found in fermented foods and yogurt that helps people who can't digest lactose (the sugar found in milk)
  • Bifidobacterium: Found in some dairy products to help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other conditions
  • Saccharomyces boulardii: A yeast that helps with diarrhoea and other digestive problems 
Research has shown that probiotics can be effective for people who are suffering from:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diarrhea caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites
  • Diarrhea caused by antibiotics
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
Non-Gut related issues such as:
  • Skin conditions ex. Eczema
  • Urinary and vaginal health
  • Allergies and colds

The Probiotics Food List

probiotic foods hong kong

Image source: https://draxe.com/probiotic-foods/

Now, for someone like me with gut issues for years, takes a probiotic daily, and fills her diet with probiotic-rich foods with seemingly NO positive effect, I wondered what I was doing wrong.   After seeing a few naturopaths, it was then that I was introduced to the concept of prebiotics.  

What are Prebiotics and What’s the Difference?!

Prebiotics are a type of indigestible fiber found in certain plant foods that's crucial for nutrient absorption.   It passes through your GI tract undigested and enters your colon where the probiotics begin to breakdown the fiber allowing themselves to grow and repopulate.

Image source: https://blackpaint.sg/probiotics-vs-prebiotics/

Simply put, your probiotics are ineffective without the presence of prebiotics, which acts as the “food” to nourish the probiotics so that they can do their work! The prebiotics acts as a fuel source fo the probiotics to grow and repopulate in your gut (kind of like what a fertilizer would do for your garden!).   You can eat as much probiotics as you want, but if you don't feed it with the proper food, they aren’t going to be doing its job!

So as you can see, neither can survive without the other. Probiotics and Prebiotics are both essential for a healthy digestive system.

How Can you Get More Prebiotics in your Diet?

prebiotic foods hong kong

Image source: https://blog.paleohacks.com/prebiotics 

Now that we have a better understanding of the crucial roles that pro and prebiotics play in our digestive system, we can begin our journey to healing our gut once and for all!

Prebiotic-rich foods can be easily found in the produce section of your local supermarket where as probiotics  can sometimes be a bit more difficult.   No worries, we know how important gut health is and that is why we craft our own gut-friendly foods right in our kitchen!

We've got a wide range of products that you can purchase from our online store!

Regardless of how severe your condition is, or whether you just want to maintain optimal gut health, I think everyone’s gut always deserves a little T-L-C in the end ;)


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