What are prebiotics?!

 
 

Are you familiar with probiotics? (If not, learn more about them here.) Long story short, probiotics are those little bugs (aka bacteria) that not only survive, but thrive, inside us.

@@Did you know we actually have a larger quantity of bacteria living inside us than we have number of cells?!@@

What you might not know about probiotics is that, just like us, those bacteria need food for survival.

That's where prebiotics come into play.

WHAT ARE PREBIOTICS?

Prebiotics are named pretty appropriately since they come before probiotics and are necessary for probiotics to thrive in your gut. While you have good bacteria all over your body (skin, mouth, intestines, genitals), the prebiotic examples I’m mentioning today specifically help the beneficial bacteria in your belly.

Prebiotics are made up of indigestible fiber that pass through your upper digestive system untouched, making it to the colon intact and helping the beneficial bacteria grow and thrive. They give the probiotics the energy needed to reproduce and outnumber the bad bacteria we're exposed to on a daily basis.

See, there's no such thing as only having good or bad bacteria. It's all about the quantity of each team (the good bugs vs the bad bugs). As long as the good bugs in your system outnumber the bad bugs, the good bugs will keep the bad bugs in check - keeping you healthy along the way.

Feeding our good guys with lots of nourishment (aka: prebiotics) is super important to keep that scale tipped in the right direction.

You might be wondering right now if the bad bugs like the prebiotics too. Well, most of the bad bacteria flourish in unbalanced (aka: sick) systems and tend to feed off of things that should be eaten in limited quantities - mainly sugar. So, don’t fret, the prebiotics are simply fuel for the good bugs, not the bad.

PREBIOTIC FOODS

Want to incorporate more prebiotics into your diet? Here are the most common food sources of prebiotics:

Bananas - That quick grab-n-go breakfast is better for you than you realized, right? And the mushy consistency makes it a great food to help support babies' guts.

Onions - Onions, plus garlic, leeks, and really any other veggie in the allium family contain prebiotics. You can get the benefits from both cooked and raw alliums alike.

Dandelion Greens - Don't let industrial farms fool you. Dandelions aren't weeds - they're nutritious and delicious plants with beautiful flowers. Add some raw dandelion greens to your next salad and make your gut a happier place.

What if you want the benefits of prebiotics but the thought of eating a banana daily makes you gag? (I'm looking at myself here. Raw bananas are NOT my jam.)

THAT'S WHERE PREBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS CAN COME IN HANDY.

This is the one I take daily!

This is the one I take daily!

Acaciai gum (or gum arabic) is a natural source of prebiotics and is a great insoluble fiber source for anyone living with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I've been incorporating this powder into my diet for the last few weeks and I'm not exaggerating when I say I totally love it.

Acacia gum is a powder that mixes up completely with room temperature water and doesn't taste chalky or gritty in the least. The directions state to not use ice or boiling water when mixing, but that you can refrigerate or boil the liquid after it's been mixed.

 

I've been taking it in my homemade kombucha tea every morning with my breakfast. I figure that the kombucha is the only liquid that I keep at room temperature at my house (other than water) and that the probiotics in the kombucha are probably totally stoked about mingling with the prebiotic fibers! Plus, since it's fiber, it's very filling and helps keep me from snaking before lunchtime.

The label also says that you can also add it to any baked goods by incorporating it with the flour before mixing (the ratio is listed on the bottle). I plan on adding it to my next batch of paleo banana bread for a 1-2 punch of prebiotic goodness for breakfast.

HAD YOU HEARD OF PREBIOTICS BEFORE?

Comment below and let me know how you plan on incorporating more prebiotics into your diet!

**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

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