Improve your gut health and your mood may improve

SPRINGFIELD, Mo You've probably been hearing quite a bit about prebiotics and probiotics. So, what's the difference? KY3's Paul Adler visits with Pamela Hernandez of Thrive Personal to break down the difference between prebiotics and probiotics.

How to get your prebiotics and probiotics

You have probably heard the terms prebiotics and probiotics often but do you know what they are and why they matter?

First, here are the definitions from the Mayo Clinic: Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. They are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics.

Probiotics are different in that they contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut. That means you need both to keep a healthy microbiome. Research has found that the health of your gut affects everything from your immune system to how effective your metabolism
functions to your mood. Did you know that 90% of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive track? Or that your levels of HDL (good cholesterol) may be linked to what is going on in your gut?

The good news is that prebiotics are easy to get from simple food sources. These resistant starches are easy to find and may already be among your favorite foods. Prebiotic foods include bananas, apples, onions, garlic, leeks and asparagus.

Fermented foods are you best source of probiotics. Yogurt is usually the first thing that comes to mind but there are plenty of other choices. Some great probiotic foods include sauerkraut, tempeh and kombucha.

There are times when a probiotic supplement may also be needed. I consulted a nurse practitioner, Samantha Goodall from Command Family Medicine, about this topic. Her advice was to make sure when your gut health balance is disrupted, for example after a round of
antibiotics, to take a probiotic supplement to help rebuild the microbiome. She recommends a supplement with at least four strains of bacteria that include the Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus varieties.

You'll also want to pick one from the refrigerated case to help ensure
the cultures are still alive. To her patients, she recommends the Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Ultimate Care, which can be found locally at Mama Jean's Natural Market, Ruby's or Lucky's.