The difference between prebiotics and probiotics
Do you know the difference between the two?
Over the last few years, there’s been a rise in the amount of people asking me about the importance of gut health – and with more and more research linking your digestive system to your brain function, it seems gut health is anything but a passing trend.
If you’re keen to find out how the function of your gut affects the rest of your body, check out my article - Jessica Sepel’s guide to gut health. Once you understand the basics, challenge yourself to try these 10 easy ways to improve your gut health.
Sip on water in between meals and avoid drinking water with meals as it dilutes the gastric juices and prevents you from properly digesting your food. Try adding two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your water bottle, which I find stimulates the gastric juices, preventing bloating and aids digestion of food.
This can include beans, legumes, eggs, chicken, fish, meat, nuts and seeds. Aim for a palm size portion of these proteins or about 100-150g. The amino acids found in protein help to strengthen your gut lining which assists with debloating and flatulence.
Opt for extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, which help to soothe the gut.
Prebiotic foods include asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions and high-fibre foods like beans, legumes, oats, chia seeds and greens – these are a must for a healthy gut.
These include organic yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, organic tempeh, and kombucha.
My favourite sources are gluten-free whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, leafy greens, beans, legumes, vegetables, soaked chia seeds, ground flaxseed and psyllium husk. These foods get your bowels moving, feed the good gut bacteria and help to eliminate excess toxins from the gut. For fibre-rich meal ideas, check out my nourishing bowl recipes.
I recommend a daily probiotic, magnesium, magnesium glycinate/citrate, turmeric and glutamine, but make sure you only take supplements under the guidance of a medical professional.
Before each meal, take three deep breaths and eliminate distractions like your phone and the TV. This makes a huge difference to digestion by reducing stress levels.
With every mouthful, try to chew between 15 to 20 times before you swallow. This will take time and practice, but be patient – it will make a huge difference. Eating slowly will help your digestion and trains you to eat mindfully.
The gut shuts down in times of stress, so I recommend going into what I call the JSHealth stress-free zone. This is when you commit to 10-30 minutes of solitude each day with no distractions (including emails, phone, kids). Try going for a walk, reading a book or meditating.
If you have a history of frequent antibiotic use, I’d highly recommend speaking to a nutritionist, dietitian or doctor who can help you supplement with a good probiotic formula to rebalance your gut flora.
Founder of JSHealth, author of two best-selling books and accredited nutritionist, Jessica Sepel is passionate about taking a balanced approach when it comes to food. Jess believes we need to give up diets to overhaul our relationship with food and advocates for moderation, mindfulness at meals and healthy body image.
Check out more articles by Jess, including the delicious and healthy recipes she’s created exclusively for nib.