Probiotics vs. Prebiotics
Let's Get Specific About Your Body Needs...
The more I discover my passion for food, my appreciation for nature grown magnifies tenfold.
Growing up, it was always told to my brother and me to eat our vegetables. The only reason we were given was, "because we said so". Luckily, my parents knew their way around the kitchen, so trying to persuade two young children wasn't hard to do.
One weekend, I stumbled across what's known as probiotics. I was totally unaware of what the scientific-sounding term was used to disguise. My main focus with food I try, I like to explore its background to gain a broader appreciation for the facets foods all have.
Probiotics were not an exception to this frame of thinking. In actual reality, the mysteriousness behind probiotics was intriguing.
As soon as I began researching probiotics to write one of my early essays, Foods To Put Out Your Throat Fire, I came across a similar-sounding, but not quite ... PREBIOTICS.
"Whoa, now I'm excited and confused!" I thought.
Both sound similar, but work and play different positions with your gut health.
As I began to learn more about prebiotics and probiotics, I've been able to see the benefit of their differences.
Probiotics are live microorganisms consumed through fermented foods.
Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria balance, aids bowel movements and diarrhea.
According to Healthline, a review of 35 studies found consuming probiotic-packed foods can reduce infectious diarrhea by at least 25 hours. Additionally, studies showed probiotics reduced travelers' diarrhea by 8%. Overall, children suffering from travelers' diarrhea were reduced by 57%. Adults suffering from travelers' diarrhea were reduced by 26%.
A 2017 Cochrane review found consuming probiotics while using antibiotics reduced the risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea by 60%.
According to Medical News Today, a 2014 analysis of 24 trials found probiotics could prevent the delivery of premature infants.
Probiotics have been known to help with mental health.
A 2017 review discovered consuming probiotics could reduce the symptoms of depression.
A study of 15 reviews found consuming probiotics for at least two months can improve mental health conditions, like anxiety, depression, and autism, to name a few.
Another study with 40 participants took probiotic supplements for eight weeks. Within eight weeks, participants seed a reduction in depression levels.
A group of five studies showed eating probiotic yogurt for two to eight weeks seen a reduction in cholesterol.
Prebiotics are a nondigestible carbohydrate that acts as food for the probiotics and bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotics help gut bacteria produce nutrients for colon cells to improve the digestive system.
Most prebiotics is known as oligosaccharides, which are resistant to digestive enzymes.
Prebiotics digest better to make food turn into fuel for our bodies. They also produce lactic acid which aids digestion and fatty acids.
Little did I know, asparagus is a great resource of prebiotics. The fiber and antioxidants found in asparagus have anti-inflammatory properties. The earthly flavored vegetable aids friendly bacteria and can prevent cancers.
I was shocked to discover bananas are high in prebiotic fiber!
Bananas were highlighted in my article, Foods to Put Out Your Throat Fire, as a low-acidity food to ease acid reflux disease.
When I worked full-time while maintaining my kickboxing schedule, I ate bananas while I was on the go. The potassium found in bananas helped my blood flow and my energy levels to get me through a twenty-hour packed day. Knowing bananas are a part of the prebiotic family is a game-changer for me.
Pectin, found in apples, has prebiotic benefits.
Pectin and polyphenols found in apples can improve digestive and gut health.
Seaweed is a very potent prebiotic.
Also known as marine algae, seaweed promotes gut bacteria. Consuming seaweed can reduce the growth of diseasing-causing bacteria and cancer-growing cells.
Seaweed is very rich in antioxidants which help prevent cardiovascular complications, like heart attack and stroke.
Garlic is my favorite ingredient to use in my cooking, so discovering it was a part of the prebiotic family, was a gamechanger for me.
Garlic has a role as a prebiotic.
Garlic is an ancient herb with antioxidants, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial effects beneficial to your gut health. Garlic cultivates Bifidobacteria which helps reduces disease-causing bacteria and cardiovascular complications, like heart disease.
Initially, I discovered garlic was beneficial, I was writing about fermented foods. As much as I enjoyed cooking and baking with garlic, it took me years to understand garlic's capabilities!
Visit your local vitamin and supplement store to inquire about the seaweed in supplement form. As always, consult with your physician prior to adding any supplements to your healthy lifestyle.