Not all bacteria are bad. With all the talk of “gut health” you’re probably familiar that there is good bacteria helping your body fight infections. These are called probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that regulate and keep the digestive system healthy to ensure that your organs are functioning well. Think of the body as a kingdom guarded and protected by these probiotics against bad bacteria carrying a range of diseases.
Now, these little soldiers need food to thrive, and this is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics, which the body can’t digest, are a kind of fiber that the good microorganisms eat to grow and multiply. With a balance of prebiotics and probiotics in your gut, you can enjoy these health benefits:
- Prevents Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – Around 40-60% of women experience a UTI during their lifetime, but probiotics could address the symptoms of this infection.
- Strengthens the immune system – A rich reserve of good bacteria helps you boost immunity against illnesses with the help of vitamins and the enzymes they produce.
- Improves fertility – Some strains of probiotics are helpful for women who are having difficulty conceiving.
- Addresses vaginal infections – Probiotics can help manage bacterial vaginosis, vaginal yeast infections, and urogenital infections.
These are only a few of the health benefits women can get from a healthy supply of good bacteria. While you can take supplements like prebiotic capsules to regularly replenish these microorganisms in your gut, you can also make changes in your daily diet because there’s a variety of foods rich in prebiotics.
But did you know that you likely already have some of these foods in your own pantry?
With fiber and other prebiotic compounds, walnuts facilitate the growth of lactobacillus, a “friendly” type of bacteria that cultivates good bacteria while building a barrier against the bad ones. There’s an array of food and snacks that you may turn into nutty treats such as walnut candies, cupcakes, or used in salads.
Good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate provides polyphenols,which are prebiotic antioxidant compounds that encourage the growth of good bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. When shopping for chocolates, go for plain dark bars with at least 70% cacao. If you’re more of a coffee lady, you can try adding a scoop of pure cocoa powder and low-fat milk to your morning dose of caffeine.
Onions are a good source of prebiotic inulin, which is responsible for the production of butyrate that protects the colon. Onions also help improve heart health, so make sure that you keep this tasty vegetable in your diet!
Your large intestine will thank you for it when you consume lots of oats because they’re an excellent source of resistant starch, which has a laxative effect that will help maintain a healthy colon. One way to use oats is to make your own granola.
It’s important to build a colony of good bacteria to live a healthy and strong life. Sure, sticking to a diet can be a challenge, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Eventually, you will reap its benefits and achieve a happy gut.