PWhenever you are stuck in making some decision, you are always suggested to “go with your gut”. Well, it is the one thing that gives you an instinctive power and rightly so. Thanks to a whopping 40 trillion bacterial perpetually on duty, it is your gut that powers your entire body.

So, how can you keep your gut well nourished and up for its 24/7 optimal function? In this article learn all about the most important nutrients -probiotics, prebiotics, and polyphenols for gut health.

Gut Health is Important for the Body and Mind

The gut is home to a whole host of microbes that affect your physiology and the brain in unimaginable ways. It is these microbes that affect the way you absorb nutrients, how you balance the glucose levels in your blood, strengthen your immune system and even regulate your mood and brain function.

The wrong internal mix of microbes or lack of strong microbes in the gut can potentially set the stage for other health issues later on. Undeniably, the wellness of your body and brain depend on your gut health.

Probiotics and Prebiotics: Important Gut-Healthy Compounds

Even though, the names may be similar, both play complementary roles for your gut health. Probiotics is essentially the good guys or good bugs in your gut and prebiotics are the food that feed them.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that reside in the gut. They help to break down and digest food, ensure that the immune system works well, improve the production of important brain neurotransmitters and support overall gut health.

On the other hand, Prebiotics are the food for the good bacteria and come from non-digestible fiber in certain plant-based foods. All prebiotics are essentially fiber, but not all fiber are prebiotics. Some of the prebiotics are named as oligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharide, and inulin. They stimulate the growth and activity of your body’s good bacteria or probiotics.

Your body needs both of these compounds. Without prebiotics, probiotics will starve and lead to leaky gut. And, with no probiotics to eat the prebiotics, your gut will face problems too.

Probiotic and Prebiotic Benefits and Food Sources

Some of the health benefits of probiotics include:

1. Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome – Probiotics aid digestion and most importantly in the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. It can help to alleviate symptoms of  inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease (an autoimmune disease), urinary tract infections and more.

2. Improve Immune System – A 2003 study published in the journal Gut found that the strains Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus acidophilus protected cells against infection with E. Coli. Having a healthy population of good bacteria in your gut is essential to boost the immune function.

3. Boosting Mental Function – The gut is referred to as the second brain and the balance of bacteria in the gut affects mental health. There are several studies that have proved the efficiency of probiotics to improve pshychological conditions like anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder and even memory issues.

4. Lower blood pressure – Probiotics help to alleviate hypertension by stabilizing systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

5. Lose Weight: Lactobacillus paracasei , a probitioc strain in the gut blocks fat storage and thus help to lose weight.

Best Probiotic Foods

Plant-based sour and fermented foods contain the best source of natural probiotics. Of them, kefir, organic yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi are the most recommended. There are several probiotic supplements available in the market, but it is better to obtain them from natural food sources.

Best Prebiotic Foods

These are specific forms of dietary fiber that keep your microbiome well-nourished. Some of the natural prebiotics include Chicory Root, Garlic, Onion, Mexican Turnip, Onion, Leek, Dandelion Greens, Leafy Greens, Asparagus, Legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas, Banana.

Polyphenols – Fertilizer for Gut Microbiome

It may sound like a crazy medical term, but consider them as the best friend of good bacteria. This class of micronutrients are both antioxidants and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in your intestine.

Studies have stated that dietary polyphenols contribute to gut health by maintaining the right balance of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting pathogenic bacteria. In simple words, they increase the good bacteria and decrease the bad ones.

They are found in plenty from plant sources and once consumed they make their way to the intestine to be broken down by your gut bacteria into metabolites, which in turn stimulate important physiological effects.

Best Polyphenol Sources

Polyphenol is naturally present in the skin of most vegetables and fruits and that is why it becomes important not to peel them off. Especially you will find them more in apples within its skin and that is why they say an “apple a day keeps the doctor away”, that too when you eat it unpeeled.

Other potent sources include berries, plums, cherries, hazelnuts, spinach, beans, green tea, curcumin, cloves, resveratrol, pomegranate, shallots and more.


Empower your Gut

You have to feed your microbiome to help feed you! That is very essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem within the intestine. And with a health inner ecosystem comes less pain, more energy, revived mood, happier belly, balance immunity and healthier you!

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