January 2022



    The key to good health lies deep within your gut.  Learn what to eat to launch it into action.

    You’ve heard of probiotics and prebiotics.  Now researchers are looking at postbiotics: beneficial bioactive compounds that may play a role in preventing inflammation and supporting the immune system.  Eating the right foods can help crate postbiotics and boost our wellness.  More and more, we’re understanding the importance of our diet for promoting a healthy lifestyle.  We can’t control our genetic risk factors, but healthy eating choices can give us a leg up.  Here is everything you need to know about postbiotics, and how to tap their power.

    Mighty but Mysterious.  Postbiotics are active players in our microbiome, which lives within the gut and is made up of trillions of different microorganisms.  We’re just starting to understand the relationship between our microbiome and our health, but we do know that a healthy and diverse microbiome has been linked to less depression, GI illnesses and autoimmune conditions.  To keep our microbiome flourishing, we need to feed the beneficial bugs or, probiotics, that live within it.  That’s where prebiotics come in: Found in foods like bananas, onions, and garlic, prebiotics fuel our probiotics, which produce postbiotics.  This triad helps keep our systems smoothly functioning.  But postbiotics are a little tricky to understand.  Essentially, they are the by-products of probiotics and can include compounds like short-chain fatty acids (which are beneficial to our health and immunity) and enzymes.   Postbiotics have the potential to influence our nervous system, immune response, metabolism, microbiome and gut functions.  Scientists don’t understand exactly how postbiotics work, but they may contribute to keeping the lining of the gut healthy, which decreases inflammation in the body.  Inflammation has been linked to a host of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, so keeping it under control is crucial.

    Pump Up Your Postbiotics.  The No. 1 Rule: Eat a diverse diet, preferably plant-based, that’s high in fiber and fermented foods.  Fill your meals with foods that are rich in prebiotics, like artichokes, asparagus and tomatoes.  Load up on fiber from fruits like raspberries and blueberries, and whole grains.  And be sure to eat fermented foods that contain probiotics, like yogurt, pickled vegetables and kimchi. Consistency is key. While everyone has a unique microbiome, they share the ability to quickly respond to normal changes in our diet.  Healthy foods need to be continually fed to your gut so that you get all the benefits they offer.

    Pam O’Brien