The balance of good bacteria in our gut depends on what food or prebiotics are supplied to the large intestine.
By the time food has reached the large intestine it has already been digested by our own enzymes in the mouth, stomach and small intestine.
The remnants left over is usually fibre that we are not good at breaking down. Bacteria in the gut will metabolise/ ferment this hard to break down material producing by-products or postbiotics.
To encourarge the good gut bacteria or probiotics to flourish eat a wide range of fibre.
The top prebiotic foods are: asparagus, artichokes, onions, leeks garlic jerusalem artichokes and green bananas. Increasing fibre levels quickly can cause discomfort so do this over a number of weeks to avoid bloating.
Not to be confused with fermented foods that are full of postbiotics. Fermented foods contain fibre that has already been broken by bacteria.
The wider the range of vegetables and fruit eaten the more diverse the gut which is associated with health.
Bad gut foods
Yeast and candida thrive on sugars. Sugar or beige carbs are the fuel for yeast and contain little or no fibre.
High sugar content is linked to inflammation. When yeast infections take hold they can be difficult to control.
Tip: If you get a lot of bloating when you eat high fibre foods then fermentation may be occurring in the small intestine due to overgrowth in bacteria. You may be suffering from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (“SIBO”) which is also associated with bloating, constipation, and both weight loss and weight gain.
Numerous different types of strains of probiotics have been studied and shown to have different effects.
For example, here at humanpeople we have been researching different strains that have been shown to be beneficial for reducing inflammation in acne and rosacea and some have anti-ageing effects. Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus are amongst the most beneficial.
Other strains can help to stop the overgrowth of yeast.
Tip: Did you know that the UK is one of the few countries in Europe not to prescribe the probiotic saccrhomyces boulardii along with antibiotics. It has been shown to reduce antibiotic induced diarrhoea and prevent candida overgrowth.
Postbiotics are the by-products produced by bacteria and micro-organisms in the gut. The body, and particularly the colonocytes that line the gut, rely on postbiotics as an important energy source.
These postbiotics come in the form of short chain fatty acids and one of the most studied is butyrate. It can make up to 30% of the total energy of the body.
Tips: Fermented foods often contain high levels of postbiotics. They are also often high in histamines so if you are sensitive to histamine you may need to avoid.