Yes, that’s right and I’m not referring to the ‘anti’ kind but the ‘pro’ as in probiotics and prebiotics
Pro and prebiotics are both super valuable due to the fact they help support our microbiome, the multibillionaires of bacteria that live within your body (digestive system), helping it function at peak health and wellness.
You know when your unfriendly bacteria is running the show. You feel tired, sluggish, susceptible to illness and infections, crave sugar, lack that healthy glow and perhaps even suffer from depression.
When it’s the happy chappys are in town (good bacteria) your energy is stable, you ward off illness like a trooper, are at an optimal weight, have great digestion and your goals and tasks are not a worry to complete. They act as a defence against incoming illness and, if they outnumber the enemy then that’s one up to the good guys…perfect for our children’s health.
It doesn’t take much to tip our gut flora out of balance and this can be caused by the use of some medication (antibiotics in particular), poor diet and chronic diarrhoea or constipation, excess alcohol, toxic substances, life stresses, and eating too many processed, low fibre, sugary foods.
What’s the difference between a pro and prebiotic?
Probiotics can be found in capsules, powders, or foods that actually contain live friendly bacteria. Foods that contain this good bacteria include – yogurt (not the sweet desserty ones), kefir (fermented milk), kombucha (a fermented drink), sauerkraut, kimchee (a Korean fermented cabbage), and pickled vegetables.
Prebiotics feed this friendly bacteria (from our probiotics) and help them proliferate on their own. Kinda like feeding the ones that are already in your system to function at their optimal. These come in the form of Cal-mag butyrate, Inulin powder and Arabinogalactans.
What to look for in a prebiotic to get things started
It can get a little confusing sussing out the prebiotics and what is on offer. Basically it should include 3 types of bacteria
1. Lactobacillus rhamnosus
2. Lactobacillus Acidophilous
3. Lactobacillus Plantaris
These are selected due to the fact they can survive the acidic conditions in the stomach and then be able to evade digestion in the small intestine. In addition strains such as bifidobacter, acidphilous reuterii are welcome bonuses and it is often a case of more bacteria the better (but usually more expensive).
This cheat sheet from Dummies also lists these foods high in probiotics
Dark chocolate (a good, high-quality chocolate)
Natto (a fermented soybean)
Some soft cheeses (such as Gouda) contain Lactobacilli bacteria
Sourdough bread may also contain Lactobacilli
Fruits such as bananas and tomatoes
Vegetables like artichokes, green beans, leeks
Aren’t they always meant to be refrigerated?
The consumerlab.com says
“Many probiotic bacteria are naturally sensitive to heat and moisture. Heat can kill organisms and moisture can activate them within pills, only to die due to lack of nutrients and a proper environment. These products should ideally be refrigerated and kept out of humidity. However, probiotics with freeze-dried organisms (which includes most sold as supplements in tablet or capsule form) and in packaging to prevent moisture, such as blister packs, generally do not need refrigeration or to be kept out of humidity but should still not be exposed to heat above room temperature”
So there you have it. I hope I have covered all you need to know about pre and probiotics in a nutshell and why it’s super important not just for you but also for your kids to include these regularly to maintain healthy bodies.