Prebiotics & Probiotics: How to get them from your food
Prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics... We hear these words thrown around when we talk about a healthy gut, but we wanted to take some time to make sure we all truly understand what each of them are, why they're important and where we can get them from.
Let's start off with prebiotics. Prebiotics are special plant fibres that help healthy bacteria grow in your gut. Good bacteria are absolutely necessary for a healthy digestive system and even help keep the "bad" bacteria in check! When the good bacteria is thriving they multiply so often that the unhealthy bacteria do not have space to grow - This is where the phrase "a balanced microbiome" comes from.
It may be a little odd to think about feeding your gut bacteria, but that's exactly what prebiotics are for - they are a source of food for your microbiome. Your body can't digest insoluble fibre, but your gut needs it to flourish and support your digestive system.
Prebiotics have other added benefits such as:
- helping you absorb calcium
- regulating blood sugar
- preventing constipation
- keeping the cells that line your gut healthy
You can find prebiotics in foods including, but not limited to: apples, artichokes, bananas, chicory, flax, garlic, legumes and oats.
Probiotics, although they sound similar, are quite different. Probiotics are actually living microorganisms that are beneficial to our bodies. Probiotics digest the prebiotic fibre that we consume.
Probiotics can help with:
- digestive health
- mental health
- and heart health
Fermented foods are most commonly where probiotics can be found in our diets. Plant based foods that you can get your probiotics from include: sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, pickled cabbage, cucumber or beets.
While you can get probiotics from supplements when necessary, it is usually best to get what your body requires for your gut directly through your food.
Postbiotics are what comes after pre + probiotics. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that feed on prebiotics, and postbiotics are the waste that gets created by probiotics. Waste doesn't seem like it would be beneficial to us, but in this case it is.
Postbiotics promote healthy digestion of prebiotics, so a happy gut actually relies on the pre- pro- and postbiotic cycle and it improves more and more as you continue to feed it the nutrients it needs.
Our meals are designed to include over 70 plants in each week's menu because: