Life is about balance, even inside our bodies. There are millions of tiny organisms in our guts working to keep our entire body working right. But unfortunately, if there are too many of some microorganisms and not enough of others, the colon, the brain, and different glands can’t do their jobs correctly.
Our bodies naturally contain helpful and harmful microorganisms in our intestines and a few other places. Still, we also get them from fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, and cheeses that contain live or active cultures (for example, cottage or cheddar). These millions of microorganisms, or probiotics:
- Aid digestion.
- Keep bad bacteria from growing and making you sick.
- Produce vitamins.
- Help support the cells that line your gut to stop harmful bacteria you may have eaten or drunk from entering your blood.
- Break down and absorb medicines.
Probiotics need to “eat” to survive. They consume different microorganisms, or prebiotics, to thrive. Prebiotics come from foods that contain fermentable soluble fiber, such as potatoes, garlic, and apples. Because the composition of food changes during cooking, their preparation determines if these foods can serve as prebiotics.
If you have trouble fitting the right foods and cooking methods into your day, probiotic and prebiotic supplements may be a solution. Check with your doctor for guidance in choosing a supplement that works best for your body and health goals.