There’s been a lot of attention given to the benefits of pre- and pro-biotics recently. They are both functional foods, or foods that have health benefits beyond simple nutrition. In the case of prebiotics and probiotics, they can help restore the balance of good-for-you bacteria in your intestinal tract. Let me break it down for you:
- Probiotics: these are the bacteria themselves, typically Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. They are credited with numerous potential benefits: managing lactose intolerance, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, preventing colon cancer, reducing inflammation, improving immunity, and inhibiting some of the side effects that come with taking antibiotics.
- Where to find them: yogurt (even nondairy yogurts are often supplemented with it), Good Belly beverages, Kashi Vive cereal, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh
- Prebiotics: promote the growth of beneficial bacteria; in other words, they enhance the benefits of probiotics! They may also help prevent the growth of lesions in the intestinal tract and enhance the absorption of calcium.
- Where to find them: soybeans, unrefined wheat and barley, legumes, oatmeal , and onions. If you see a product that mentions “inulin”, that’s a prebiotic too!
Looking at the list of foods above, you probably see that you are eating some already without even trying! Bottom line: prebiotics and probiotics are both healthy additions to any well-rounded diet. With cold and flu season barreling in, you’ll want to keep up that good work for a healthy boost to your immune system.