It’s no exaggeration to say that the gut is at the center of your health. It’s where you’re able to digest and absorb all of the important vitamins and minerals that make body functions possible. Your digestive system is also one of your best defenses against sickness, boosting your immune system and protecting your body from harmful organisms.

Your gut is essential for fueling up your body, especially if you’re concerned about fitness and working out. Previously on GymGuider, we talked about how eggs are a protein-packed food that can keep you energized for the gym. However, if you aren’t able to digest those important proteins properly, you won’t see the results.

Below, we’ve put together a brief guide to prebiotics and probiotics: elements in your gut that make healthy digestion and absorption possible. If you want to reap the benefits of your diet, then you need to give these basics a read.

Prebiotic Boosters:

You’ve probably heard about probiotics and the important role they play in gut health, but did you know prebiotics are just as important? According to Medical News Today, prebiotics are fibers that your body can’t digest, which then travel to the lower digestive tract. There, they serve as important food sources for your gut bacteria to feed on.

The more food your healthy gut bacteria have, the stronger they are. That means they’re more capable of boosting your metabolism and protecting your body from harmful organisms.

WebMD suggests eating 3 to 5 grams of prebiotics per day for a healthy digestive system. These include foods like garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, and even dandelion greens. Not only do they provide important nutrients for your gut, but they also help reduce inflammation, and may even help your body absorb calcium.

Probiotic Support:

You can’t talk about gut health without talking about probiotics. Cleveland Clinic defines probiotics as a combination of live, good bacteria and yeasts that are essential for keeping your digestive system— and by extension, your body, in good working order.

Probiotics are important because they keep your body’s microbiome healthy. A healthy microbiome means proper body functions, as well as a better defense against harmful bacteria or viruses. You can find probiotics in fermented foods or supplements. For example, Brightcore recommends apple cider vinegar gummies as a good source of probiotics, because they contain important digestive enzymes and bacteria sourced from organic, non-GMO apples.

The most popular method for boosting your probiotic supply is through eating fermented foods. Harvard Health Publishing notes that not all fermented foods are good sources of probiotics, however, as some fermented food and drink— like wine or beer— undergo processes that kill or deactivate probiotics. Thus, it’s important to pay careful attention to what you eat or drink to ensure that you’re getting the probiotic boost that you need.

One of the top probiotic foods in the modern diet is yogurt, because it’s usually packed to the brim with probiotics, and appealing to the Western palate. However, there are tons of other foods that have the same benefits, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, and even drinks like kefir. All you need is a little bit of exploring to find the probiotic source that’s best for you.

You Are What You Eat:

The best solution is often the simplest solution, and in the case of your gut, it’s all about what you eat. Our bodies, and by extension our digestive systems, all have unique needs. A lot of diseases and ailments can be traced to our guts, which makes taking care of our diets all the more important.

While a balanced diet is pretty much the best solution for ensuring you get the nutrition you need, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor or nutritionist for ways to fill in nutritional gaps. Make sure to keep track of your food sources, and whether you’re giving your gut the support that it needs. When it comes to good health, trusting your gut is the key.