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Your body is full of good bacteria that live in your gut. The healthier these critters are, the healthier you are! Prebiotics are plant fibers that stimulate the growth of good bacteria, while probiotics are actual organisms that can directly enter your system.
Many foods and supplements are available to promote gut health through these live bacteria. But what is the best probiotic while on keto? Read on to find out why you need prebiotics and probiotics and which ones are best for your keto diet.
What Are Probiotics and Prebiotics?
Aside from the most basic difference, there are specific qualities you should know about these organisms and how they benefit your body!
There are several types of probiotics, like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces Boulardii. You can introduce these bacteria to your body with supplements and foods like yogurt.
Lactobacillus is the most common type of probiotic usually found in your favorite yogurt and some other fermented food products. Different strains of Lactobacillus can help you with diarrhea and can aid people who have a hard time digesting lactose, which is the sugar commonly found in milk.
Meanwhile, Bifidobacterium is extremely important for your health as it helps digest dietary fiber, helps prevent infection, and helps produce vitamins. Munch on apples, artichokes, almonds, and pistachios to increase Bifidobacterium in your belly.
Saccharomyces Boulardii is a type of yeast commonly found in probiotics. It helps to fight bacteria and several other digestive problems like ulcer and diarrhea.
Prebiotics are classified as non-digestible food ingredients or supplements that help grow your healthy friends in the body. They are selectively utilized in the gut to increase the number of healthy bacteria you have, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria without feeding the bad bacteria.
Why Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Important?
Probiotics are the good guys that help you break down and digest food. They also have benefits on your immune system and overall gut health. Canadian Medical Association even presented on how they can improve your mood by regulating your hormones.
Meanwhile, prebiotics are the food for these good bacteria and help promote their growth and activity. You need these two together to support and balance your microbiome, the overall flock of good and bad bacteria in your body.
Foods That Contain Prebiotics
You need prebiotics for your gut bacteria to produce nutrients for your colon. Which foods contain these important dietary fibers?
One is chicory root. It is made up of nearly 65 percent of fiber by weight and is one of the best prebiotic food sources you can find. They are commonly found in health stores or gourmet markets either in ground form or supplement form.
Chicory root is also used as a caffeine-free replacement for coffee!
Another great example of good probiotic food is raw Jerusalem artichoke. It is not the same as a regular artichoke as it only mimics an artichoke heart’s flavor. It looks like ginger rather than an actual artichoke.
The Jerusalem artichoke is also better known as sunroot or sunchoke. It is related to the sunflower rather than artichoke and offers an impressive amount of nutrients and a plethora of health benefits. It is a great source of iron and potassium in addition to being a great prebiotic.
Some other prebiotic foods include onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and bananas. But in order to get any health benefit from these sources, you would have to consume an abnormal amount of them every single day.
This promotes a need for supplements which will be explained further down.
Foods That Contain Probiotics
There are many probiotic food sources available for you, which are super beneficial when consumed.
One of the most popular probiotic foods is yogurt. Aside from being a healthy and tasty snack, it is also one of the best sources of probiotics. Yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacteria.
Yogurt is connected to many health benefits such as improving your bone density and health, and is good for people with high blood pressure. Yogurt also has been known to reduce diarrhea that is caused by antibiotics in children.
Keep in mind, however, that not all yogurts have live probiotics because some have had the live bacteria killed during processing! Read your labels to make sure you are getting live bacteria in your yogurt. Also watch the carb count on yogurts as some have added sugars.
Another example of a good probiotic food is sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is essentially a finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. It is popular in many countries and is considered one of the oldest traditional probiotic foods.
Sauerkraut is also rich in fiber, as well as vitamin B, C, and K. It is also a good source of sodium, iron, and manganese. Not only that, but it also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health.
Make sure to choose unpasteurized sauerkraut as pasteurization kills the active and live bacteria.
Keto Diet and Your Gut Health
As we all know, the keto diet promotes a low-carb diet for better energy levels, reduced free radicals, good brain health, and most of all, weight loss. These benefits may sound amazing to you, but it can only be effective if you maximize your dietary efforts by keeping your gut healthy.
Going on the keto diet means cutting some foods that won’t help your weight loss. The good thing is that these foods are also undesirable for your good bacteria, like sugar and processed foods.
Although some treats with prebiotics for fiber are high in carbs, there are plenty other supplements and foods marketed to promote gut health and weight loss.
One way to get plenty of prebiotic fiber with fewer carbs is to supplement with an organic prebiotic powder like the Vegansmart Plant Based Vegan Protein Powder by Naturade. You can select from their four delicious flavors and be assured that it goes well alongside your keto diet.
When You Should Use Supplements Instead
Again, getting some forms of prebiotics and probiotics can be a problem when your food does not contain enough. Unless you are willing to eat an equivalent of 15 raw bananas per day as an example (I’m sure you would not since that will make you go over your keto diet limit), it is a good idea to switch to using supplements instead.
Supplements can be taken regularly to help increase and drive the growth of good bacteria in your gut without the addition of all the unnecessary nutrients you are trying to keep out in your keto diet.
The Ora Organic Probiotics with Prebiotics capsules are great supplements that contain no dairy, soy, and gelatin to help your digestive & immune systems. Take a capsule in the morning and don’t forget to accompany a healthy keto breakfast!
You might also want to try Earth’s Pearl Probiotic & Prebiotic. This product, with its pellet-like pearls, claims to be more effective than capsules as they promote alleviation from digestive distress through an innovatively manufactured design that offers 15x more live bacteria directly to the intestines.
Your gut health is just as important as your metabolism and weight loss. Although there are foods that provide good bacteria for your body, they might also hinder your keto diet efforts.
Our recommendation is to get the best of both worlds and use organic supplements that contain no dairy yet still offer optimal digestive condition.