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Family Nutrition

Gut Instincts
Packages now claim foods “contain healthy probiotics” and many of us are now taking a probiotic supplement. But wait a minute! Now we hear we also need prebiotics to keep our gut healthy.

The good bacteria in our gut break down carbohydrates and help create 10% of the energy we need daily. They also fight bad bacteria, helping us better fend off infection and disease.

How does the good bacteria get into our gut?
Through the foods we eat. Probiotic cultures contain good bacteria and can be found in foods like yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, aged cheese, kimchi, sourdough bread, miso, kombucha and even sauerkraut. Look for “contains live cultures” on the package to be sure you’re getting helpful probiotics.

So how do you keep that healthy bacteria strong enough to do their job?
With prebiotics – a substance found in the fiber of certain vegetables and fruits, including leeks, onions and bananas. In short, prebiotics are the health food that keeps probiotic cultures fit.

The main ingredient in prebiotics is inulin.
Experts say you need about 7 grams of inulin daily to keep your probiotics in high gear. And while you may experience a bit of gassiness the first few days of ingesting more inulin, it should wear off as your body gets used to the routine.

Keep your gut happy and you’ll find yourself healthier overall.
Look for prebiotic supplements, and if you prefer, begin to add more of the following high-inulin foods to your diet:

    •    Whole grain barley, wheat, rye
    •    Jerusalem artichokes
    •    Asparagus
    •    Honey
    •    Chicory
    •    Bananas
    •    Garlic
    •    Onion
    •    Leeks
    •    Legumes
    •    Dandelion leaves

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