Quick gut check: everything you eat and drink can affect the makeup and state of your digestive system, or your gut as it is often called. You can create a healthy gut through what you eat and drink, the supplements you take, or a combination of both. It starts with your microbiome—or gut makeup. A healthy microbiome helps your body function better, protects against diseases and illness, can boost your mood, and more. Keep reading to learn more about healthy bacteria, your microbiome, and ways to get healthy bacteria through foods.
Picture yourself in a large city flooded with people crossing paths and going about their day. Now imagine that level of constant activity on a microscopic level: each person representing one of countless microorganisms and thousands of strains of bacteria and viruses living together like a society. That should give you an idea of what it looks like inside your microbiome. Most of the bacteria inside you live in your small and large intestines. Your microbiome is unique to you and can change over time depending on the nutrients and bacteria that live in you.1 To help keep this society healthy and living in harmony, it is important to positively support your microbiome—in this case, with good bacteria.
Good bacteria in your gut helps break down the food you eat and helps with gut inflammation. There are many different types of good bacteria, most commonly known as probiotics. Another important part of a healthy gut is prebiotics. Prebiotics and probiotics have different functions or roles in the body. Here is a breakdown of these two types:
Probiotics: Probiotics are made up of good bacteria and yeasts that you ingest and absorb either through food or supplements. Lots of foods have probiotics in them. These are mostly plant-based foods, and the great news is that you can get most of them at your local grocery store. Some examples of probiotic-rich foods include:
Prebiotics: Prebiotics don’t live in your gut, but you can get prebiotics from food and supplements. They move through your gut and act as a food source for the probiotics.2 To make sure that you’re feeding good bacteria, it’s good to eat foods with prebiotics. These can include:
There are plenty of ways to get probiotics and prebiotics into your diet, including supplements you can find at your local grocery. If you’re looking to improve your gut health, it’s good to explore your options for adding good bacteria with the foods you eat. You’ll always be able to discuss your goals and health circumstances with a MOBE Guide and Pharmacist to find an approach to gut health that works best for you. Get started today.
1. “The Microbiome,” The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, accessed August 22, 2023, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/.
2. “Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: what’s the Difference? And Why It’s Important to Trust Your Gut,” Health Essentials, Cleveland Clinic, March 25, 2020, accessed August 22, 2023, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/prebiotics-vs-probiotics-whats-the-difference/.