Spring is all about renewal, so it’s a perfect time to move toward re-committing to your well-being from the inside out, and there is no better place to start than with the very epicenter of your overall health—your gut. A healthy gut is more important to your well-being than you might realize. Beyond good digestion, it is a key to immune health, energy, mood and more.
There are trillions of live bacterial cultures in the digestive tract that need to be in balance in order to keep the body healthy. And there are lots of everyday things that can derail that, such as stress, poor eating habits, aging and environmental factors. One way to help restore and maintain that balance is to regularly consume both probiotics and prebiotics, which work together synergistically to promote gut health.
By now you have probably heard of probiotics. They are the good bacteria we consume that help keep our guts—and our whole body—healthy. One way to think of probiotics is as desirable houseguests for your gut, the rare kind that you actually want to stay because they are so helpful. Prebiotics are their favorite food, varieties of fiber that help them grow and thrive. As any good host knows, if you want your guest to stick around you have to feed them well. So it’s important to get both probiotics (good bacteria) and prebiotics (certain kinds of fiber) on a regular basis.
To reboot this spring, make a point of eating probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods daily. Besides having gut health benefits, they are delicious foods with many other essential nutrients and health properties. Probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and tempeh. Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber found in a wide range of vegetables, fruits and grains. They are known to be in concentrated amounts in bananas, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, barley, whole wheat, scallions, garlic, leeks, onions and other foods. Scientists are still uncovering all the varieties of fiber that help probiotics thrive, so your best bet is to aim to get enough fiber in general—at least the recommended 25-38 grams each day. (If you are not used to eating high-fiber foods, ramp up gradually so you don’t jar your system.)
Probiotic and prebiotic foods can definitely work together deliciously. Blend a banana with yogurt or kefir for your morning smoothie; make a yogurt-based sauce with garlic, onion and curry powder for dipping steamed broccoli; add a dollop of yogurt as a garnish to your leek and asparagus soup; or stir-fry some asparagus with kimchi or tempeh, for example.
But because the probiotic bacteria and prebiotic fiber content of foods can be so variable, and it can be tough to get enough of these foods consistently each day, along with including them I recommend taking a daily probiotic supplement like Renew Life, which not only has billions of active cultures with multiple strains, but the new line also contains organic prebiotic fiber. Together they could be just what you need to move toward a healthier you this season.
Pre- and Probiotic Shopping List
*Sauerkraut and kimchi that contain live cultures can be found in the refrigerator section at the store.
Whole wheat products
Lentils and beans
Note:The views, opinions and positions expressed in this guest blog belong solely to the author. All data and information provided herein is for informational purposes only. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this post are not guaranteed. Renew Life accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.