T Nation

Pre- and Probiotics

Does anyone else here try to maximize the amount of pre- and probiotic foods that they get in their diet in order to deal with digestive and other health issues? Which foods are your favourite sources of these and how do you incorporate them into your daily nutrition? What kinds of results have you noticed?

After a few years of poor (i.e., slow) digestion, skin issues and allergies, I decided a few months ago to try to increase the amount of prebiotic and probiotic foods in my diet. The former are foods that contain nutrients essential for the growth and maintenance of a healthy gut flora, the latter are foods that contain bacteria that directly influence the balance of “good vs. bad” bacteria in your digestive tract.

For me, this meant goodbye to the cottage cheese and hello to kefir, goodbye to supermarket (pasteurised) sauerkraut and hello to raw sauerkraut from the butcher and goodbye to pasteurised olives and hello to fermented, unpasteurised olives from the mediterranean grocer around the corner. I also tried to eat a lot more prebiotic foods like artichokes, chicory root and garlic (which I can’t get enough of anyways, much to the chagrin of my wife).

My results have been surprisingly positive. I feel as though I’m “getting more” from the food that I take in, slow digestion is no longer a major issue, skin blemishes have improved and certain allergies that I have don’t appear to be as sensitive as they were beforehand. Whether or not this will have a direct carryover to my training is of course a side issue, but I’m sure that optimizing gut function will in turn mean that I’m able to get the best “bang for my buck” from my food and supplements.

Any similar experiences?