Is Fiber Better Than Probiotics for Boosting Gut Health?

I’m giving you the takeaway right now: don’t underestimate fiber when it comes to boosting favorable strains of gut bacteria.

Fiber for Gut Health

Back in 2006 while attending a conference, I saw my first designer, lactic-based probiotic with a price tag of $49.99 for a 30-day supply.  As I listened to the salesperson give me the marketing rundown, I wondered who would spend this type of money on what is essentially bacteria from dairy.  My grandmother was still living at the time, and I recall asking if she would take this supplement and her responding, “just eat the goat yogurt from the Cho̱rió” (the village in Greek!).

Fast Forward to Now

In a study submitted to the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that fiber (in this particular case, flaxseeds) were more beneficial to improving insulin sensitivity in the subjects, and altered gut microbiota, positively, while the lactic based probiotic, L. paracasei had no impact on the gut whatsoever.

Look, I have nothing against popping a probiotic supplement.  What I’m looking towards clinically (and what I have been doing for years) is to identify gut-triggers and how to fix them.

I’m sorry to tell you this, but supplementing with a probiotic isn’t going to undo years of harm caused by dietary and lifestyle factors. 

Believe in Fiber

It’s cheap and comes with no marketing budget.  The verdict is out that it works, so why second guess its role in digestive health?

Don’t buy the fiber in capsules; eat it.

Here are top fiber rich foods:

  1. Beets
  2. Artichokes
  3. Cabbage
  4. Broccoli
  5. Oatmeal (just the oatmeal, no flavors)
  6. Carrots
  7. Beans
  8. Sprouted bread
  9. Nuts & Seeds
  10. Aren’t you sick of me telling you what to buy? Add your own favorite!

In Health,