8 years ago

Why you need probiotics and prebiotics in your diet

What are prebiotics and what do they do?
Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food ingredients that are linked to promoting the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut. We have billions of bacteria in our bodies…and not all bacteria are “bad.” Prebiotics are food for probiotic bacteria and promote the growth of “good” bacteria that may improve gastrointestinal (GI) health.

Prebiotics in your diet
Include more prebiotics in your diet by eating foods like bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, oatmeal, legumes, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole wheat foods.

What are probiotics and what do they do?
Probiotics are actually the “good” bacteria — or live cultures — just like those naturally found in your gut. These active cultures help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora. This may boost immunity and overall health, especially GI health. For instance, probiotics have been used for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Some strains of these live cultures may help prevent specific allergy symptoms, reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance and more. However, effects can vary from person to person.

Probiotics in your diet
To obtain more probiotics, enjoy fermented dairy foods including yogurt with live active cultures, kefir products and aged cheeses like Gouda, cheddar and feta. Enjoy non-dairy foods that also have beneficial cultures, including kimchi, naturally fermented vegetables, miso and tempeh.

How do I get the most benefits from pre and probiotics?
Prebiotics and probiotics work together. Add bananas on yogurt, use kefir on whole grain cereal or stir fry asparagus with tempeh to get both pre and probiotics in your meals.

Be sure to include food sources of prebiotics and probiotics on your grocery shopping list. Check labels for live active cultures, too! For advice on pre and probiotics for your specific health needs, especially if you have GI issues or a weakened immune system, contact your health care professional.

Supermarket Savvy, May 2014