Probiotics and foods to keep your digestion healthy isn’t too glamorous of a subject, right?
Believe it or not, if you get your digestion working more efficiently, your body is spending less energy trying to digest food. The less time and effort it has to spend on digesting crappy foods, the more time you have for recovery and muscle building.
Why should I care about gut health?
Abs are made in the kitchen, but if your gut is screwed up, you’re going to have digestion issues, water retention, and if your gut is really screwed up, you may not be absorbing enough nutrients.
Getting proper rest and recovery between workouts and weeks make a huge difference in your progress. Think about it, you’ve had a stressful week, couldn’t sleep well, and then you lift like crap. It’s simple.
Maintaining a good healthy gut is what the greatest athletes and models do. Adding a few probiotic foods into your regular diet is easy, macro friendly, and you will notice a difference.
What are probiotics?
So your intestines have “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria” and each type helps to digest your food and process it. You need enough of the “good” bacteria to ensure proper digestion and minimize any complications.
If you have an abundance of the “bad” bacteria, you can create conditions like Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, arthritis, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and eventually obesity.
So the probiotics are healthy bacteria and will help generate a balance in your gut. Along with making digestion easier, probiotics have quite a few benefits:
- Helps with weight loss
- Prevents certain types of cancer, including colon cancer
- Boosts immune system
- Improves skin conditions such as eczema
- Regulates gut flora
- Assists in absorbing essential nutrients (all of your supplements and nutrients in food)
- Helps with digesting food
How do probiotics help with my gains?
Gastrointestinal issues are a common occurrence. Your body must exert energy to digest these foods, and sometimes things don’t go the way they should.
Think about it, you get all of your nutrients, you have more energy, and you will be able to recover faster… it’s a win/win/win.
What foods are high in probiotics?
There are a few foods that are easy to add into your current diet, while others are more specialty items such as tempeh or miso.
Eating some yogurt is an easy way to start your day. You can enjoy this for breakfast, as a snack, or as a sweet treat. Using an unflavored yogurt allows you to mix into your protein shakes, replace your mayo, or replace your sour cream.
Vegetarians and vegans are very familiar with this ingredient. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. It is rich in fiber and magnesium, and it is a great source of protein.
I’ve personally had a tempeh, lettuce, tomato sandwich (playing on a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich) at a vegan joint out in Portland Oregon, and it was amazing.
Sourdough is made with a starter that contains the lactobacillus bacteria. This bacteria is great for your gut health and it’s what gives the bread that tangy taste.
While I didn’t know this word was spelled so messed up, sauerkraut is great on brats and reuben sandwiches. It’s a German side that has salt and cabbage as it’s only ingredients.
The cabbage sits for several days (or longer) and the fermentation is what creates the probiotics we need.
You’ve probably heard of miso soup, but what is miso? Miso is a seasoning that is created by fermenting soybeans and other natural ingredients.
Miso doesn’t have to stick to soups, you can make some great salad dressings, marinades, and other sauces with it as well.
Believe it or not, this fermented bubbly tea tastes great. It’s amazing for your gut, and I invite you to try it out. You can buy kombucha in a regular grocery store, but I would invite you to try to find a restaurant that crafts their own.
The reason dark chocolate is actually good for you is because of the probiotics in it. Probiotics can be added to a high-quality dark chocolate and it can hold up to four times the amount of other forms of dairy.
Another easy ingredient to eat more of, pickles deliver some great probiotics. Look for varieties that are brined in water and sea salt instead of vinegar. The vinegar doesn’t allow the beneficial bacteria to grow.
Pickle juice is also full of electrolytes and if you ever suffer from cramping at a powerlifting meet, this will save your performance.
What is a good probiotic supplement?
There are plenty of probiotic supplements out there that work great, but one we recommend is available on Amazon and is a great value.
Optimum Probiotics came up with a solid product, and recommend you check it out.
Wrapping it up
Thinking about probiotics isn’t as fun as deadlifting 800 pounds, but taking care of your gut will allow you to eventually lift that.
Treat your nutrition as smart as you train and you’re going to make great strides in progress. If you’re currently stuck on a plateau, take a break from the gym for a week, get some probiotics in you, and come back next week and smash those plateaus.