Did you know that your body is currently home to trillions of bacterial cells? These little bugs make up your microbiome and actually play a HUGE role in your mental health. In fact, we know that you can Heal Your Gut to Heal Your Brain and that probiotics are key players in this process. However, getting the most benefit from introducing probiotics into your diet requires a bit of know how.

Shopping for probiotics can be even more overwhelming than other supplements. But wait – I have good news! You don’t even have to go to the supplement aisle, or buy a probiotic supplement at all. It’s actually muuuuucccchhh better to get probiotics from fermented foods than from probiotic supplements. This way, you’re getting the real deal, not a manufactured and packaged up version of it. Look in the refrigerated section for fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, or kefir. In those last two options, check the sugar content and make sure to go with the less sweet options. 

When you do find your favorite sources of probiotics and begin to take them, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, be ready for your body to experience some digestive shifts. You are literally introducing new bacteria into a pre-existing environment (your gut microbiome), and this is bound to cause a bit of upset. It’s totally normal to feel a bit bloated or have some gas. However, if these are consistent or too strong, you might want to think about adjusting how much or what kind of probiotic you are using. I also find that taking probiotics with food can help my body adjust more easefully.

If working fermented foods into your diet isn’t an option for you, you aren’t able to get enough in, or you are doing some serious gut health improvements, then a probiotic supplement could be a good option for you. It’s so important to find a good quality one. Remember, probiotic supplements contain actual live strains of bacteria, and if you end up with a subpar option you might just be getting a bunch of dead bugs that won’t help you. We recommend Megasporebiotic or Pure Encapsulations Probiotic-5. If you just can’t do any more pills, check out this powder from Klaire Labs.

Now that you have these new gut flora friends, you’ve got to keep them happy and in balance! This means keeping sugar to a minimum in your diet as this is the “bad” bacteria’s favorite food, and getting plenty of prebiotics like garlic, onions, and chicory to feed the “good” bacteria. Though it’s a good idea to always inclue a variety of fermented foods no matter your health goals, you also don’t have to take a probiotic supplement forever! As you learn to get more in tune with your body and understand what it needs, it’ll become clear to you what your gut bugs need.

Looking for some one-one help in improving your gut health? Schedule a free 15-min phone consultation with me, our holistic health coach!