Probiotics and Prebiotics
This habit is going to build on our other healthy eating habits we are starting to establish. If you just now found the #31 habits to make or break series, simply go here to sign up to receive the entire program.
Let's start with prebiotics since they're the less popular of the two.
Prebiotics are simply a non digestible fiber in foods that help promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. Prebiotics are very important for your colon. They also do some amazing things for your health. Even though they're not as popular as probiotics; prebiotics are just as important. Probiotics simply cannot work as well without them.
Prebiotics are fiber found in plants which goes through the intestines unchanged. When you add prebiotics to your body it acts as a fertilizer to enrich the good bacteria (probiotics). Think of prebiotics as the miracle grow of the colon.
Just a few health benefits of prebiotics include
- better regularity
- improved immune function
- vitamin production
- better energy
- less leaky gut
- better calcium absorption
- improved bone density
- less inflammation
- maintain a healthy weight
- restore healthy microbiome
Some foods that contain prebiotics
- Raw garlic
- Dandelion Greens
- Raw Jicama
- Raw or cooked onions
- Unripened bananas (no brown spots)
Now let's talk about the ever-popular probiotics
You hear the word probiotics thrown around a lot these days.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are often referred to as “good bacteria” because they help promote a healthy digestive tract and immune system. There are literally dozens of different probiotics, some are categorized as Lactobacillus and others as Bifidobacterium. Each category has different strains.
Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFUs) and there are many different “strains” of bacteria, with the most popular being L. Acidophilus and B. bifidum which help keep the microflora of the small intestines balanced. This is especially useful to offset the effects of antibiotics.
Another popular strain of probiotic is L. fermentum which is found in some of my favorite foods: fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and sourdough. This lactobacillus strain also helps promote a healthy level of gut bacteria.
Probiotics are essential for maximum digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. Probiotics also aid in the elimination of toxins. For example, the strain L. rhamnosus is perfect for carrying when traveling as it can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea. A good combo to carry when traveling is charcoal and probiotics.
Benefits of probiotics include
- Healthy gut flora; less leaky gut
- Improved immune function
- Helps with weight loss
- Prevents urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Helps fight foodborne bacteria
- Helps heal skin conditions like eczema
- Treats Candida and other yeast overgrowths
- Improved gut microbiota may improve metabolism
Probiotic-rich foods include
In addition to supplementing with probiotics, you can also try to add probiotic foods to your diet. These foods include:
- Pickled or sour vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi
- Miso soup
- Yogurt (preferably cultured from raw milk but definitely not highly sugared and colored varieties like Trix or the junk in a tube)
- Sourdough bread
- Raw cheese (especially soft cheeses)
- Spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algae (green powders you can add to your smoothies and juices)
Yia Yia's Tzatziki Sauce for Gyros is a perfect prebiotic/probiotic combo recipe. Look for other ways to get prebiotics and probiotics in the same meal! Share your ideas in the comments!
Read more about probiotics here.
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