Eat probiotic foods along with prebiotics to maintain gut health

Dietitian Manuel Villacorta is passionate about probiotic foods.

While you are likely familiar with yogurt, aged cheese like Parmesan, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchee also help us fight ongoing inflammation that can lead to disease and weight gain. He's especially concerned about visceral fat that is stored in the gut.

"This belly fat is probably the worst fat you can have in excess. By reducing visceral fat you reduce inflammation and you reduce many chronic diseases," said Villacorta.

But in order for probiotics to thrive and multiply, they need a steady diet of good, fibrous foods. Avocados, oats, asparagus, onions and mangoes are all great prebiotic examples.

One of the best-tasting prebiotic foods? Avocado. It's good tasting, it's got good fat and it's loaded with fiber.

"(Avocado) provides 11 percent of your dietary fiber per day and out of that, 30-40 percent is prebiotic fiber," said Villacorta.

In his book "Flat Belly 365" Villacorta reveals a day that is packed with both pre- and probiotics: a papaya kefir smoothie for breakfast, prunes and Parmesan or apples and almonds for a snack, a lunch of mango avocado salad with yogurt dressing and a walnut pesto quinoa bowl for dinner.

He's test-driven this program on hundreds of clients whose average weight loss is four to six pounds weekly.

While you don't have to eat a lot, the suggestion is to keep both pre- and probiotic foods in your day to keep the 10 million or so bacteria in your gut thriving for good health.
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