Follow your gut to digestive health

Published 6:54 am Saturday, March 2, 2019

Did you know that trillions of bacteria live in the body? Most are helpful; some aren’t. 

The term “microbiome” describes all the bacteria that live in your body, mostly in your digestive system.  When you have more good than bad bacteria in your gut, you’re in healthy equilibrium.

Both probiotics and prebiotics contribute to digestive health.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in the gut. Prebiotic fiber is the food that fuels the good bacteria, helping maintain a healthy digestive balance. It’s a synergistic relationship. Without prebiotics as fuel, probiotics would starve.  With prebiotics, probiotics thrive. 

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Prebiotic Fibers

While all fiber is important to feeling your best every day, only certain fibers are what we call prebiotics. Foods with prebiotic fiber include:

•Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus and jicama.

•Black, kidney, navy and garbanzo beans.   

•Green, brown and red lentils. 


There is no “Daily Value” for probiotics because each strain is unique, and the beneficial dose varies.  Look for these probiotic choices at Hy-Vee :

•Yogurts. On the label, look for the statement “live and active cultures” as an indicator that the product contains probiotics.

•Kefir which is found in our Health Market. 

•Kombucha. This is a fermented beverage made from green or black tea.

•Fermented vegetables. Selections such as fresh sauerkraut and kimchi can be added to sandwiches and tacos or used as a topping on pizzas or avocado toast. 

Our March Pick of the Month is Regular Girl, which offers the combined benefit of five grams prebiotic fiber and eight billion active probiotics per serving.  Try it in the Zoodles with Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce recipe, a perfect lunch or dinner.

Including pre- and probiotics in your daily eating habits can help you feel the benefits of a healthy digestive system, which may include comfortable regularity, immune support, heart wellbeing, and potentially help with mood.

Zoodles with Creamy Avocado Cilantro Sauce

  • Makes 4 Servings

What you need

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

For the avocado sauce:

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 ripe avocados pitted, and peeled
  • Large handful of cilantro, about ⅓ cup loosely packed
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Water as needed
  • 4 scoops Regular Girl

What you do

  1. Cook zoodles according to package directions.  Drain any excess water.
  2. While the zoodles are cooking, cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Add the avocado to a blender along with the minced garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, water and Regular Girl.
  3. Blend until mixture is creamy, adding additional water until the sauce is at the desired consistency.
  4. Add the sauce to your zoodles. Toss with avocado sauce. Or chill! This dish is also delicious cold.
  5. Top with halved cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese before serving.

Optional: For additional flavor, sauté zoodles with olive oil, garlic, mushrooms and red pepper flakes for a few minutes before adding the sauce. Zoodles tend to pick up the flavor of whatever they are cooked in.

Nutrition information (per serving): 270 calories, 22 g fat, 15 g monounsaturated fat, 4 g saturated fat, 22 g carbohydrate, 14 g fiber, 4 g protein, 310 mg sodium, 20% Daily Value for potassium, 70% Daily Value for vitamin C.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.