Just when the world is embracing probiotics and all of their wonderful health benefits, we learn of another term called prebiotics. We'll explain the difference between the two, as well as why you need them and how to get more.
What's The Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics?
Let's start by looking at the little picture and then bring it back to the big picture. First up is probiotics, which are teeny tiny microorganisms that are in you and some foods you can eat (yes, they're alive and are already inside of your body). These microorganisms are technically bacteria and yeasts that are good for you. They are part of something called your microbiome, which has many functions, including to help keep you healthy from infection and digestive problems. Research has shown that having a healthy microbiome with plenty of probiotic "good" bacteria can also have a positive impact on your mental health, cardiovascular health, oral health, upper respiratory tract health, and skin health. To help increase the good bacteria, many people regularly eat probiotic-containing foods and take probiotic supplements, and research shows that this typically does increase your probiotic count. Some probiotic foods include most yogurts and other fermented foods, such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses.
Now let's talk about prebiotics, which are similar, yet different from probiotics. Another way to increase and support the healthy bacteria in your microbiome is with prebiotics. These are compounds (typically high-fiber compounds) that serve as food that helps grow the probiotics. As the probiotics help break down the fiber in certain prebiotic foods, the colonies of good bacteria grow stronger and help keep you healthy from the inside out. Prebiotics are in many plant-based foods, such as bananas, greens, onions, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and artichokes.
The Benefits Of Prebiotics
We are just starting to research and uncover all of the potential of having a healthy microbiome. But one thing that health experts know now is that eating prebiotic-containing foods on a consistent basis offers many benefits for your health, including:
- decreasing inflammation
- aiding digestion and metabolism
- increasing calcium absorption
- helping regulate blood sugars
- reducing appetite and cravings
Foods High In Prebiotics
Most high-fiber plant-based foods are a good source of prebiotics. Think of it this way: All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fibers are prebiotics. Some of the highest prebiotic foods are:
- chicory root
- dandelion greens
- legumes, beans, and peas
- garlic, onions, and leeks
- Jerusalem artichokes
- berries, bananas, and apples
- barley, oats, and wheat brans
- flax seeds
Prebiotics In Struesli
Did you know that Struesli is an excellent source of prebiotics? That's right! Every 1/4-cup serving of Struesli contains 5 grams of prebiotic fiber! In fact, since Struesli is made from so many fiber-rich plant-based foods, nearly every ingredient in Struesli contributes to the prebiotic amount.
The prebiotics in Struesli mostly come from the thinly sliced tigers nuts, pecans, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and coconut. When you start your day with Struesli, you're giving your microbiome a boost. And though you may not feel it immediately, this is one healthy choice that will certainly pay off in dividends!