Nutrition Chat: Probiotics

Probiotics – it’s likely you’ve heard of them/taken them before, and know that they’re a good thing to have in your diet but maybe you don’t know exactly why…this is where I come in!

Probiotics are live bacteria & yeasts that sustain and nourish your gut’s local microbiome.

A healthy gut microbiome is imperative to health. Your microbiome works to:

· Breakdown and extract nutrients in the large intestine during the final stages of digestion; specifically, bacteria ferments fibre to produce ‘short chain fatty acids’ that contribute to your GI wall’s tight junctions (it’s very important to have tight junctions because it prevents toxins from your gut leaking into your blood and lymph, which in turn wreaks havoc as you’re about to find out…)

· Help your immune system to function optimally

· Create vitamins for us!

(This is just a quick summary by the way)

So, what happens when you have a sad gut microbiome dominated with ‘bad’ bacteria?

Well, you’ll likely suffer with fatigue, skin irritation such as eczema, IBS – bloating, gas, diarrhoea, frequent infections, sleep disturbances, and even autoimmune conditions and food intolerances!

I hope that demonstrates the scale of the issue!

As a side note, prebiotics are simply ‘food’ for probiotic bacteria, hence the ‘pre’. Unless you’re eating minimal fruit and vegetables it’s likely you’re getting enough prebiotics through your diet. 

You can of course buy probiotics but as with every nutrient your body will absorb it better if it’s provided as food and as nature intended! (There’s also a ridiculous amount on the market and it can be hard to work out which are best for you)

Most probiotic foods are fermented, here are the main examples:

– Sauerkraut

– Kimchi

– Yoghurt

– Kefir

– Tempeh (vegan substitute for meat)

– Miso

– Kombucha

– Pickles/gherkins although they are high in sodium

– Foods that show on their label ‘live cultures’ or ‘active cultures’

Most supermarkets will now stock the above foods. As an example of how you can regularly incorporate them into your diet – have a scoop of kefir in your overnight oats or smoothie and sauerkraut as a cold side dish. Probiotic bacteria is killed by heat, so if you’re cooking with the likes of miso, you need to use it at the end of the cooking process to keep the probiotic goodness.

I hope you’ve found this short blog insightful, if you’re interested in working with me on your nutrition head over here to book yourself in for a no-pressure discovery call.