From early on, there have been indicators that our digestive system is doing WAY more than just processing our food. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Ok, maybe not all disease, but he was definitely onto something - the fact is a lot of our well-being stems from our gut.
This all ties back to the 100+ trillion bacteria that live in our gut... don’t worry the vast majority of those bacteria are healthy. We can blame scientific researchers, doctors, and our germ-a-phobe friends who have spent too much time obsessing about bad bacteria, for delaying us from uncovering the amazing power of our good bacteria.
Luckily for the health of all of us, now a significant amount of scientific research is being done on gut health and how to keep it healthy and balanced. Let’s start with the basics of gut health. Bacteria exists everywhere from our head to our toes, but most of it lives in our large intestine, and is known as healthy gut flora or microflora. It is a truly important part of our digestive ecosystem known as the microbiome.
We are all looking for balance in our lives, so why not in our microbiome? You can help balance your microbiome simply by consuming prebiotic fiber. So maybe this is the first time you’ve heard the term prebiotic, and maybe you are wondering if prebiotics and probiotics are the same? Nope! Or maybe related? Yep!
Probiotics are live strains of good bacteria that can be found in yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.
Prebiotics are specific fibers that are found in plants like chicory root, barley, oats, bananas, onions, garlic, and asparagus.
It’s not totally surprising that these classic healthy foods hold such a powerful nutrient, right? So, here is how the pros and the pres are connected: our microbiome loves a dose of probiotics to increase the healthy gut flora, and becomes even happier when we consume prebiotic fiber to feed the gut flora, allowing it to flourish and improve overall gut health.
Alright, a little bit of bad news for the U.S.: the volume and variety of healthy microflora in our digestive systems continues to drop. It’s caused by many factors including the evolution of the food we consume (too much processed, nutrient-poor food, not enough veggies), a trend towards sterilization of our bodies and our homes (knocking out too much healthy bacteria), and the use of antibiotics (which are equal opportunity killers of good and bad bacteria). But, take a deep breath because there is good news: we can have a significant and speedy impact by adding prebiotic fiber to our daily routine. Making this one change in your diet can have a huge effect… it can benefit your microbiome to help with everything from immunity, to weight, to mood.
So grab a bottle of Canvas and start feeling the difference a healthy gut can make.