For years, fiber has been touted as one of the most important parts of a healthy diet and healthy elimination. And it’s true…to a degree.
Enter probiotics. Over the past decade, probiotics have been growing in worldwide popularity in the medical and natural health community. Everything from yogurt to ice cream and beauty products are now boasting “live cultures” to improve digestion and elimination, boost energy, and even restore a youthful appearance.
Separately, fiber and probiotics are important additions to your diet but together they can create a powerhouse of health benefits.
Fiber is an indigestible substance found in carbohydrates, like whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables and fruits.
Here are some of fiber’s health benefits:
Helps maintain a normal weight.
Helps relieve constipation and hemorrhoids.
Has a role in disease prevention, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gall stones, kidney stones and diverticular disease.
But while fiber is an important part of a balanced diet and plays a role in regulating the digestive system, fiber does NOT address the core problems that lead to poor digestive health. This is because fiber is inert and it does not balance gut ecology which is important for optimal digestive health.
The digestive system is an ecological system housing good bacteria and yeast living in homeostasis with bad bacteria and yeast. This combination of microflora — the good guys and bad guys in the digestive tract — make up gut ecology. If our gut ecology is out of balance, we experience poor digestive health. Probiotics (good bacteria and yeast) help digestion and assimilation, boost immunity, increase energy AND help to balance out gut ecology by keeping the bad bacteria and yeast at bay.
So you might think of fiber as a facilitator of the digestive process and probiotics as the team of microflora that create a healthy environment in your gut.
The problem is most people don’t have enough probiotics in their gut. The on-the-go lifestyle which is common these days makes it more likely to encounter the things that kill probiotics like stress and processed foods (sugar, bread, fast foods and packaged foods), alcohol, drugs ( prescription, over the counter and recreational) and environmental toxins. All of this means that your gut – and your digestive health – starts to break down.
This is when most people begin to notice symptoms, like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, GERD, food allergies, IBS, Crohn’s disease and more.
So what happens when you put fiber and probiotics together? The probiotics facilitate gut health and the fiber can help move things along in the digestive tract.
A winning combination for sure but it is important to get the RIGHT probiotics.
Research demonstrates that most strains of probiotics don’t make it past your stomach. The reason is that as soon as these good bacteria and yeast strains hit your stomach acid, they essentially die. So be sure to check the quality of your probiotic choices, add fiber to your diet and you can be on your way to a balanced gut ecology that will contribute to your overall health and well-being.