The lining of your digestive tract — like every surface of your body — is covered in microorganisms, mostly bacteria. This microecosystem, called a microbiome, plays a large role in your health. Your mood and behavior also may be impacted by the microorganisms living in your microbiome.
You may be surprised to hear your gut houses up to 1,000 different species of bacteria. By nourishing different types of bacteria, you can keep your microbiome in balance.
What you feed your microbiome matters. Most healthy adults can safely incorporate prebiotics and probiotics to their diet. A healthy microbiome promotes a healthy immune system and supports a weight management plan.
There are two ways to maintain a healthy gut:
- Prebiotics — Prebiotics help the microbes already in your microbiome to grow by giving them the foods they like. Prebiotics are found in many fruits and vegetables containing complex carbohydrates, such as fiber. You may already have these foods in your pantry or fridge, including apples, bananas, berries, carrots, flax seed, garlic, oats and sweet potatoes.
- Probiotics — Probiotics add living microbes directly to your microbiome to improve the balance of microorganisms. The most common type of probiotic food is yogurt. Certain cheeses, kombucha, kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut are other bacteria-fermented foods containing probiotics.
When you’re familiar with the variety of foods containing prebiotics and probiotics, you can easily incorporate these ingredients into your meals and favorite recipes.
(Article attributed: Mayo Clinic)