Probiotics, Prebiotics and Gut Health
Are you confused about probiotics and prebiotics? What are they, and how do they benefit our health? What foods contain them? Here is our Chief summary of the main facts. As always, backed by science.
PROBIOTICS are living microorganisms found in fermented foods. Fermented foods are those that have undergone a process of lacto-fermentation, where natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating lactic acid. Examples of fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
Evidence suggests that daily consumption of fermented foods can increase gut microbial diversity and balance. Several studies have indicated that consuming fermented foods can increase the number and variety of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help to promote digestive health and boost the immune system.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that consuming fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir increased the number of lactobacilli in the gut, which are beneficial bacteria that help to break down lactose and produce compounds that can support immune function.
Another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that consuming fermented vegetables such as kimchi and sauerkraut increased the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, reduced inflammation, and improved digestion.
A study from 2023 stated that regular consumption of fermented foods had been associated with various health benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced immunity, and more significant weight loss, indicating that fermented foods can help design practical nutritional therapeutic approaches for obesity. Probiotics can also be used as a biological detoxification tool for food chemical contamination.
Overall, while more research is needed to fully understand the impact of fermented foods on gut health, some evidence suggests that regular consumption of these foods can promote a diverse and balanced gut microbiome.
PREBIOTIC is a food or dietary supplement containing non-digestible fibres and carbohydrates. While we can’t digest these fibres, beneficial bacteria use them as a source of energy to grow and multiply. By promoting the growth and activity of these beneficial bacteria, prebiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gut, which can positively impact digestive health, immune function, and even mental health. Results of some studies also suggest that prebiotics may help with the absorption of calcium, which is critical to bone health. Some common sources of prebiotics include onions, garlic, bananas, asparagus, and whole grains.
Prebiotic foods include
- Resistant starches: cooked and cooled potato, sweet potato and rice
- Fructooligosaccharides and inulin: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, garlic, onion, asparagus, bananas
- Galactooligosaccharides: legumes and nuts
- Probiotics are living microorganisms that can help restore gut microbiome balance and improve digestion.
- Prebiotics are food for the gut microbiome. Our collagen bars are full of prebiotics from nuts, acacia fibre, and tapioca starch. The collagen in our bars helps to heal the gut lining thus preventing the so-called leaky gut and inflammation.
- Probiotics and prebiotics are important for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which has many health benefits. You should be consuming both daily. Even just adding a spoonful of sauerkraut and a spoonful of cooked and cooled rice to a salad can make a world of difference to your gut health.