Foods That Heal

prebiotics, probiotics, healing foods, colorado natural medicine and acupuncture

Foods That Heal: Pre and Probiotics

A round of antibiotics, a holiday filled with sugary food and drinks, a season of too much stress… 

It can all seem innocent at the time, but these things can have harmful impacts on the gut in which we can suffer for months, and even years, later.


It all starts with our gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome is a blend of bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and fungi that: 

            – enhance the immune system 

            – aid in proper digestion of food and extraction of nutrients 

            – support metabolic health 

            – assist in creation of neurotransmitters 

            – promote good sleep 

            – help balance mood

All of which play a critical role in our overall health.

But when these microbiota become unbalanced from stress, a sugary and processed diet, use of antibiotics, a lack of bacteria from good soil, and not enough fruits and vegetables, we can suffer from mild symptoms to serious disease.

A poor gut microbiome can lead to such issues as:

– heartburn

– acid reflux

– bloating

– gas

– diarrhea

– leaky gut

– getting sick often

– skin issues

– hormone imbalance

– allergies

– obesity

– sleep issues

– mood changes

– depression

– autoimmune disease

and possibly even more as researchers continue to study the gut. 

So what do you do when these “bugs” are out of whack?

You can start by being mindful of your diet; consuming food and drinks that boast pre and probiotics can begin healing your gut.

Prebiotics are a certain type of fiber that healthy gut microbiota thrive on and are found in foods such as:

– garlic

– onions

– dandelion greens

– leeks

– asparagus

– oats

– apples

– bananas

– jicama

– seaweed

– flax seed

We love to add dandelion greens, oats, bananas, and flax seed to breakfast smoothies and take seaweed to snack on throughout the day.

Check out how to roast garlic (perfect for homemade garlic bread, stews, soups, or a protein topping), which we crave in cooler months.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are the actual bacteria that the gut microbiome consists of.

These live in many fermented foods such as:

– sourdough bread

– kimchi

– sauerkraut

– miso

– pickled vegetables

– yogurt

– kombucha

– kefir

Recently, homemade sourdough bread has become a trend.  Get in on the craze and try making your own!

A diet rich in foods such as these can make a big impact on the health of your gut.  Aim for one pre or probiotic a day or a few per week – the more diverse the better as they each feed and/or affect the microbiome differently.

And while adding these foods, try to reduce the intake of sugar and processed foods which fuel an unhealthy gut.

But what about supplements?

Food is always best, but taking a pre and/or probiotic supplement can add extra support.

To see an increase in the immune system, Dr. Graves recommends a 100 billion CFU probiotic (such as ProbioMax® DF by XYMOGEN) daily for at least 30 days (especially after a round of antibiotics).  For maintenance, 20-50 CFU billion daily can be beneficial (such as with the over-the-counter brand, Jarrow).

Supplements are usually guaranteed for up to 90 days at the potency listed.  Typically, they are best stored in the refrigerator because of the live bacteria.

When deciding on which supplement to purchase, it’s important note that different strains have different effects.  There are a wide variety to select from, based on what issues you want to address such as allergies, yeast, dairy and gluten sensitivities, and immunity.  Our office has many to select from.  Contact Dr. Graves at (303) 688-6698 to see which one would be best for you.

A healthy gut can mean a happy you.  Want to get started?

If you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Parker, Centennial, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, or the greater Denver metro area, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to find out his recommendations for your specific gut issues.

And if you live outside of these areas, he can still help!

Our office can send supplements directly to you.  Don’t let distance get in the way of your healing.  Together, we can work to get you healthy…and happy!




Posted in blog, Digestive Health, Functional Medicine, Immune System, Natural Remedies, Nutrition, Stress & Adrenal Health Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

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