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Inside the Book

Table of Contents

Why I Wrote It

Samples From Chapters

About the Authors

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e-Consult Services

Samples from Chapters

Select from the following and get a sample of what is in the book.


Chapter One: Probiotics

Chapter Two: Probiotic Food Sources

Chapter Three: Prebiotics

Chapter Nine: Prebiotics, the Familiar and the Exotic

Chapter Ten: Probiotics and Prebiotics Through the Life Stages



The cure is within your body — the secret for wellness! You can restore what aging, stress and anxiety, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, exposure to infections, and illness have done to damage this natural process. Rather than take a bevy of pills, you can take better care of yourself and bolster your immune system. There is a natural way to bring internal health and enhanced immunity back. And it is not hard to do!

As a result of research linking probiotic use to enhanced immunity and digestive health, the marketplace floodgates have opened and consumer interest is surging. Meanwhile, food manufacturers are utilizing research to their advantage and are marketing a variety of foods enhanced with probiotics. As scientific articles promote their benefits and consumers ingest the products with positive health results, the word is spreading that the cure comes from inside you and it is within your reach


Why you should care?

Did you know that seventy percent of immune function takes place in your gut? It makes sense as this is where the body encounters the majority of pathogens. Think of your gut as your immune system's command center — responsible for the regulation of your responses, particularly of inflammation. Inflammation serves a protective role responding to tissue injury or infection so that you can heal. However, if you have chronic inflammation, it can lead to the development of disabling conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, atherosclerosis, or psoriasis. In numerous studies of all age groups, regular probiotic use enhances immunity. Enhanced immunity gives you the edge to perform better, have more energy, and stay healthy and positive.

Gut Insight will teach you about probiotics and prebiotics and how they can positively influence your health and well-being: what probiotics and prebiotics are, why they are necessary for gut health and immunity, which foods contain them, and how to integrate them into meals and snacks.

You will gain insight into how probiotics and prebiotics work together to create a healthy environment in your gut, which will in turn positively influence immunity and well-being. You will find resources for shopping emphasizing whole natural foods. You will learn about specialty probiotic foods and beverages. You will become skilled at preparing foods using ingredients that enhance probiotic effects with our recipes and resources.


Bowel transit time The amount of time it takes for ingested food to travel through your GI tract and pass out as stool.

Gut Site of digestion, absorption, immune function, and elimination.

Lactose intolerance The inability to digest lactose, the natural sugar of milk. Symptoms may include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and discomfort.

Milk allergy Hypersensitivity to milk protein.

Pathogenic bacteria Disease causing bacteria which can cause both damage to the gut tissue and infections.

Prebiotics Nondigestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or the activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon and improve health.

Probiotics Live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.


Chapter One: Probiotics

Researchers in the fields of immunology, infectious disease, and basic science have been examining this microbial world that resides within us. They are progressing towards an understanding of microbes’ role in the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions and diseases. Obesity has been the recipient of a great deal of research and researchers have now suggested that overweight people have different kinds of microbes in the gut than lean people. They recognize that this may be related to the breakdown and storage of food. The initial interpretation is that the obese person may have the ability to extract more calories from their food.

More discussion of research and benefits in particular conditions follow in future chapters. For now we summarize the benefits of probiotics currently described in the scientific literature as well as those under investigation.

Benefits described by scientists are:

  • immunity enhancement
  • improvement in lactose digestion
  • management of diarrhea in infants
  • treatment of constipation
  • improved tolerance to antibiotic therapy
  • reduced symptoms of respiratory infections


Chapter Two: Probiotic Food Sources

Searching for Probiotics in Foods

Reading labels on food packages can be overwhelming. To teach you about reading labels let’s start with an example of one of the most popular probiotic containing foods: yogurt. The same criteria apply whether the yogurt is dairy or soy.

There are two important things to consider when scanning the carton:


Does it have live and active cultures?
Easy to tell from the label.

Second: Do the cultures qualify as proven probiotics?
Difficult to tell as manufacturers may not identify strains.


The cultures refer to the bacterial cultures and live means they are living or viable. They must be live to be of any benefit. The starter cultures used for fermentation of milk to make yogurt are commonly Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which are added to milk after pasteurization. Each culture encourages the growth of the other and together they rapidly acidify the milk, resulting in yogurt. The amount of live and active cultures that are in the yogurt when you buy it is important.


Chapter Three: Prebiotics

Scientific Criteria for Prebiotics

Just as there are lots of different bacteria but only a few designated as probiotics, there are relatively few designated prebiotics. Scientists have developed criteria for a substance to qualify as a prebiotic. Establishing criteria encourages research and identification of substances in foods which promote the growth of probiotics.

Professor Glenn Gibson of the University of Reading Food Biosciences Department in the UK and Marcel Roberfroid of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium coined the word “prebiotics” and developed criteria for a food substance to qualify as a prebiotic.

A prebiotic food substance must:

  • be nondigestible by the upper part of the gut.
  • be utilized by beneficial microflora in the colon.
  • result in selectively altering the microflora in the colon to a healthier composition.
  • induce effects that are beneficial.

Based on these criteria, scientists and food manufacturers are isolating these substances and reintroducing them to foods — for example, inulin is added to yogurt, pasta, cereals, and cheeses. Natural food sources of prebiotics have been part of the human diet for centuries. We recommend that natural plant foods be part of your daily diet.


Prebiotic “Stars” and Prebiotic Potentials

Although all plant foods have nondigestible carbohydrates, not all plant foods have been studied and tested to determine if they are sources of prebiotics. The table below includes plant foods we consider to be prebiotic “stars” since they are the foods listed in the scientific literature as sources of prebiotics. We consider them to have a standing above other foods in importance. They contain the nondigestible carbohydrates that the probiotics need in order to thrive. We consider the foods in the list below without a star designation as prebiotic potentials meaning there are studies suggesting they may have a prebiotic effect, but they need more research, particularly human studies, to reach prebiotic status.

Prebiotic Stars* and Prebiotic Potentials


apple, banana*, berries, raisins


Chapter Nine: Prebiotics, the Familiar and the Exotic

In this chapter, we will discuss the use of the familiar and introduce you to exotic prebiotic foods. We include prebiotic stars and potentials. We will teach you about them with a guide that includes photographs, descriptions, and information on how to select, store and use them. We have included all the pertinent information we can find on these foods. Simple recipes are provided to encourage their use. Plus we provide internet sites that have the kind of recipes you might consider using if you are feeling adventurous.


Familiar prebiotic foods are those that should be available in any well-stocked supermarket when in season. Prebiotics stars are designated with an asterisk, prebiotic potentials are without one.








Season: March-June, October

Family: Asteraceae

Genus and Species: Cynara scolymus

Native to Mediterranean. Grown in North America.

Eaten by themselves, used in soups and salads, or stuffed, there are many simple and extravagant preparations for artichokes. They are also available canned for out-of-season use.

Find out everything about artichokes with recipes at

Find further recipes at

Learn how to eat an artichoke with an online video at


Salsify, Purple*



Photo source: Loves PLC

Also called oyster plant.

Season: November-February (Year round)

Family: Asteraceae

Purple Genus and Species: Tragopogon porrifolius

Black salsify, Scorzonera

Genus and Species: Scorzonera hispanica

Native to Europe and Asia, grown in North America.

Salsify must be prepped by scrubbing by the root, running it under cold water and then peeling it after cooking. If you chop or cut it before cooking, drop the cut pieces into acidulated water (vinegar or lemon juice added) to prevent discoloration. Use in recipe of choice.



Chapter Ten: Probiotics and Prebiotics Through the Life Stages

The role and impact of the microbiota has been underestimated. Recently, as researchers uncover mechanisms for protection against diarrhea, malnutrition, inflammation, and gastrointestinal diseases, the tiny microbes are gaining new respect. Pregnant women and their physicians and mid-wives are beginning to understand the importance of vaginal delivery and breast-feeding which promote the exchange of microbial protection. Everyone is interested in the prevention of disease whether it is allergic disease, infectious disease, or the inflammatory response associated with the development of chronic disease. It is exciting to think that mothers can improve and ensure the future health of their children by their choice of delivery and feeding methods. Mothers should understand that the colonization of the gut of a vaginally-delivered, breast-fed infant resembles that of the mother. The role of the microbiotia is to protect the infant and contribute to the development of his or her immune system.


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