Feed Your Gut the Right Foods

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I was shopping last week at the grocery store, when I looked up and saw a new sign on one of the aisles: PROBIOTICS. Now, if we’d been at the drugstore, or online, it wouldn’t have thrown me off. Probiotic supplements can be really helpful.

But at the grocery store…it struck us as strange. Because if you’re going to manage gut health at the grocery store, why wouldn’t you just get the foods that are naturally high in probiotics and prebiotics?

After all, it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for.

Find Probiotics Here…

Probiotics are the healthy bacteria you need in your gut to maintain gut health. And research is learning more and more about just how essential probiotics are to our overall health and wellness. A healthy gut really is one of the primary components to a healthy you. So start with these probiotic foods.

Yogurt—Probably the most well-known of any probiotic, yogurt gained a reputation years ago for being good for your gut. But it’s not necessarily that simple. The sugary, fruity versions can have the exact opposite effect you’re looking for. Stick with organic plain Greek yogurt, and make sure the container reads “live active cultures.” For the biggest probiotic boost, make sure the yogurt comes from goat or sheep milk.

Sauerkraut—Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, are an excellent source of probiotics. Want to try something more exotic? Give kimchi a taste. This Asian delicacy packs a probiotic punch.

Fermented Pickles—As with yogurt, you’re going to want to choose carefully when picking a pickle for probiotic purposes. The ones from the grocery store probably aren’t going to cut it because they aren’t fermented, just pickled. Choose a local, organic source of gherkins, and you’ve got a better chance of finding what you’re looking for. Fermented pickles are becoming popular at farmers’ markets. If all else fails, you can always make your own!

Peas—The most common, but possibly most unexpected item on this list, according to a 2014 study, fresh peas are a good source of an important probiotic. Stay away from the canned ones, but stock up on flash-frozen and fresh.

And Your Prebiotics Here…

Prebiotics are food—specifically fiber—for probiotics. It’s what helps them grow. To put it another way, the probiotics keep you healthy and the prebiotics keep them healthy. Two of the most common prebiotic fibers are inulin and pectin, but there are others as well. And prebiotic foods are common enough that you’re probably eating them already.

Dandelion greens—Swap some of the regular greens in your salads with dandelion greens, because this tart, tangy vegetable is 25% prebiotic fiber.

Garlic and onions—If you’re adding flavor to hummus, tacos, or anything else that includes garlic and onions, you’re getting prebiotics. While you still get some benefit with cooked versions, stick to raw for the best results—a minimum of 10% prebiotic fiber!

Bananas—While lower in inulin than some others on the list, bananas are high enough in fiber to still count as a good source of prebiotics, especially when they’re still just slightly green.

Apples—Nearly 50% of the fiber in apples is pectin, so an apple a day really could keep the doctor away! Just make sure you’re eating the peel, too.

Peas—That’s right, turns out peas are one of those foods that is a good source of probiotics and prebiotics. There was a reason we told you to stock up!

Whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find probiotics and prebiotics you’ll love!

While these foods can be great sources of probiotics and prebiotics, the ideal way to ensure that you are getting exactly what you need in the quantities necessary is through a high-quality probiotic supplement.

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Recognized as one of the global leaders in wellness, Peter Spiegel is at the forefront of the health and wellness industry with his altruistic approach to health, nutrition, and lifestyle.