Simply put, probiotics are beneficial bacteria that exist in our gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics promote, or feed the bacterial colonies and work synergistically with probiotics. In other words, prebiotics nourish and maintain probiotics, which restores and can improve gut health. Probiotic sources include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts. Some good sources of prebiotics are bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods. Products that combine both together are called synbiotics. For best results, try combining both in your usual diet by enjoying bananas atop yogurt or stir-frying asparagus with tempeh.
Are probiotic supplements needed? Probably not. By consuming regular food sources of probiotics, you can maintain the integrity of your gut and avoid disrupting your body's natural microbiome. At a minimum, prebiotics and probiotics are keys for good gut health. Research indicates that the gut bacterial environment is important for more than just digestive health.
Incorporating health-promoting functional foods, such as foods containing prebiotics and probiotics contributes to a healthier you!
For more advice on obtaining prebiotics and probiotics for your own specific health needs, especially if you have GI issues or a weakened immune system, our registered dietitian, Nasira, is here to help. Contact her today!
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