We have all heard of probiotics. I have preached the power of probiotics, and how important they are for our gut health. But have you heard of prebiotics?
In case you need a refresher course on probiotics, here you go: probiotics are the live bacteria that live in foods like yogurt, kombucha and fermented foods. They are great for maintaining the good bacteria levels in your gut and help to prevent gastrointestinal issues.
What are prebiotics?
Now prebiotics are a bit different. Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that work to feed the good bacteria that is already in our gut. This is unlike probiotics, which introduce new, good bacteria. Think of prebiotics as a fertilizer for your gut. Just like fertilizing a plant, feeding your gut with prebiotics helps the good bacteria grow. Because you don’t actually digest the plant fibers, they are able to be used to keep the bacteria growing.
Benefits for our bodies
So you’ve got all the new information on prebiotics. Now why should you care? Let me explain. Here is a list of benefits that prebiotics have for our bodies:
- Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not destroyed by our bodies. They are unaffected by heat, acid and bacteria, which means that the benefits are easy to receive.
- They work to provide nutrients for the beneficial bacteria so they can grow.
- Prebiotics work with probiotics to protect our gastrointestinal system. They also help to balance the diversity and numbers of bacteria in our system.
- Because maintaining our gut health is so vital to the health of the rest of our bodies, consuming prebiotics is also linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, improved digestion, better immunity and the maintenance of hormonal balance.
How to consume prebiotics
It’s pretty clear how great prebiotics are for our bodies. Now where do we get them from? Some of the top sources of prebiotics in whole foods include:
- Gum Arabic
- Raw garlic
- Raw chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- Raw jicama
- Raw asparagus
- Under-ripe bananas (more of a green-ish color)
Because it can sometimes be frustrating to ensure you are getting in all of the vitamins you need daily from whole foods, a prebiotic supplement can make life a lot easier. My favorite brand is the Irwin Naturals Healthy Tract Prebiotic. I love this supplement because it is derived from real foods like Jerusalem artichoke and Yacon Root. I take one capsule daily and I truly feel the difference.
Tag me @laurenandrew with your favorite ways to get your prebiotics in daily!
Until next time,