With all the new studies and findings on the benefits of probiotics, you would tend to think this recent push for products like yogurt, probiotic supplements, and fermented drinks such as kombucha was a new discovery. Ancient cultures, however, have used fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir out of survival necessity and health benefits long before the science of understanding gut health even came around. Now, most of us are aware or have at least heard of the severe importance of gut health and the benefits a probiotic can add to improving digestion, brain function, and the immune system. Have you heard of the benefits of adding a prebiotic or know the difference from it and a probiotic? This dietary method can not only help those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and vaginal infections, but create a healthy body that is full of energy, and healthy bacteria that will fight against disease and illness.
So what is the difference between a probiotic and prebiotic? A probiotic is a microorganism (such as lactobacillus) that when consumed (as in a food or a dietary supplement) maintains or restores beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract. These are live bacteria that are good for your body unlike the typical bacteria you hear of when someone is sick or suffering with illness. Probiotic foods include natural bacteria found in yogurts, pickled and fermented foods, and other products like apple cider vinegar. A prebiotic is a substance and especially a carbohydrate (such as inulin) that is nearly or wholly indigestible and that when consumed (as in food) promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Prebiotics include foods that have a type of soluble, non-digestible fiber that act as a fertilizer to help stimulate the growth of good bacteria, such as the peel of an apple, bananas, oats, green leafy vegetables, and onions. A prebiotic and probiotic may sound similar in name but have very different functions and qualities.
Prebiotics are an essential part of the function of our digestive system. The good bacteria needs food to do their job and prebiotics supply a way to feed them. They need good food to thrive instead of junk like sugar and refined carbohydrates. Prebiotic foods supply gut bacteria proper fuel to prevent inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, healthy skin, and a sustained appetite. Proper consumption of prebiotic rich foods have been proven through studies to repel the effects of stress, reduce body fat and improve the quality of sleep.
Try these easy tips from lovebugprobiotics.com to add a daily introduction of prebiotics to your day.
Soak oats overnight with wild blueberries, sliced bananas and flax seed
Sprinkle chia seeds on your salads or into smoothies
Make a salad of dandelion greens, spinach, tomatoes and quinoa with an organic olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing
Enjoy warm water with a drizzle of honey and fresh squeezed lemon
Stir fry garlic, onions and Jerusalem artichokes for a tasty side dish
Enjoy an apple and a handful of pistachios for a tasty, simple snack
Having a gut full of good microbes is essential to live the life you want to live. It is not just for those with stomach ailments or digestive issues, but for all alike to enjoy a healthy immune system, increased energy, and avoiding diseases such as colon or intestinal cancers. A compounded regimen of probiotics that increase the ‘good’ bacteria, and prebiotics that feed that bacteria will help you sustain proper gut function and a healthy body.