Have you heard of pre and probiotic foods? Do you know how they affect your gut health? Today we’re going to talk about the bacteria in our guts, why gut health is essential for healthy hormones, and how pre and probiotic foods can help.
What do you mean there are bacteria in my gut?
There are trillions — literally trillions! — of bacteria that live in our guts. That’s totally normal, they’re supposed to be there. Without them, we couldn’t survive. We just need them to exist in the right balance. The bacteria in our gut are often called the “gut flora” or “gut microbiome.”
A healthy gut is important for a healthy body. All sorts of illnesses can be linked to poor gut health. These include things like headaches, allergies, infections, autoimmune conditions, weight concerns, skin rashes, and, of course, hormonal imbalances.
What are Pre or Probiotic foods?
A pre or probiotic is a food, or supplement tablet, that works to maintain the balance of bacteria in our guts.
Prebiotics are foods that are high in fiber. The gut flora or probiotics feed on the fiber and this keeps a healthy balance of bacteria.
Probiotics are live bacteria, the good ones, not bad ones – we’re not talking leftover yogurt that’s gone moldy! These live bacteria help to balance your gut flora and keep it healthy.
What does a healthy gut have to do with healthy hormones?
It’s now widely accepted that the microbiome of our guts has a significant influence on our health. We already knew that disruptions in the gut flora can cause disruptions in other parts of our health. One such area is our hormones.
Our hormones control most things that go on in our bodies. So if they’re a bit off-balance, then you’ll probably notice some pretty unpleasant symptoms.
The sex hormones are Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone. There’s now some evidence that these interact with the gut flora. Which means your hormone levels can change the makeup of your gut microbiome. But it also means that your gut microbiome can influence your hormones.
A healthy gut, then, is important for maintaining a healthy hormone balance. And pre and probiotic foods can help maintain your gut as well as your hormone health.
What foods are high in Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are found in fibrous fruit and vegetables. Some examples include:
- Chia seeds
- Green bananas
- Pistachio nuts
What foods are high in Probiotics?
Fermented or cultured foods contain Probiotics. The most common sources of probiotics are:
These are all good sources of probiotics and reasonably easy to find in supermarkets now.
What if I don’t eat fermented foods?
If you don’t like or don’t want to eat foods that are high in probiotics or pre-biotics then you can always take them as supplements. When choosing supplements it is important to remember that not all of them as high quality.
Your stomach is full of acid. And one of its jobs is to kill any bad bacteria that might make it into your gut on your food. That means that any supplements you’re taking have to be able to protect the bacteria inside the capsule from your stomach acid until they get down into the rest of your gut.
There is some evidence that taking prebiotics, as well as probiotics can be beneficial. They seem to work together to improve the action of both.
NOTE: It’s important to check with a health professional before you start any new medicines. Even vitamins or supplements can interact with other medicines or medical conditions so it is always best to check they’re safe for you.
Are there any other ways to keep my hormones healthy?
Our hormones are very important in your body and lots of different things can affect them. Sleep, exercise, a balanced diet, and managing stress are all very important to keep your hormones in balance. Have a look at this article if you want to know more about hormonal imbalance.
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