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It Takes Two: Prebiotics and Probiotics

When we talk about kefir, it’s hard not to talk about probiotics – the enzymes and bacteria created by kefir cultures that help regulate digestion, support immunity and generally make you feel good. But probiotics are just part of the equation (an equation with very many parts). Prebiotics are another, equally important component of a healthy diet. But what exactly are they?

prebiotics-probiotics

 

Prebiotics + Probiotics = a Healthy You

The equation seems simple enough, and the way prebiotics and probiotics work together is simple, too. In technical terms, prebiotics are non- living, non-digestible carbohydrates found in different quantities in a variety of foods. In non-technical terms, they’re natural parts of foods that can’t be digested. By people, at least.

Not by people, but by probiotics! Prebiotics are the food source for probiotics – they’re what probiotics feed off of to remain actively working in your digestive system. Some people refer to them as the fertilizer of the digestive system because the promote the growth of good bacteria. Prebiotics and probiotics work together in your digestive system to make sure everything stays on track.

That’s a lot of pre and pro, we know. Just think of them as two pieces of a puzzle; two parts of an equation.

Prebiotics for Digestion, Immunity and Colon Health

So you want to improve the way things work in your body? Look no further than eating a variety of prebiotic and probiotic food sources. Research has found that consuming a variety of foods rich in our favorite ‘biotics may improve your body’s natural functions, including:

  • your immune system
  • your colon health
  • your digestion system

Eat to Your Health

It’s not hard to get your hands on a variety of delicious sources of prebiotics and probiotics. They can be found in common foods, such dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Foods that contain prebiotics include:

  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Whole grains- whole-wheat breads and pasta

Foods that contain probiotics include:

  • Fermented dairy products (hello, Lifeway)
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

To get the most bang for your buck, it’s recommended to eat meals that contain both prebiotics and probiotics. These types of meals are called synbiotic. Don’t let the fancy name fool you; if you’re making kefir smoothies or pouring it over your cereal, you’re eating a synbiotic meal.

Recipe Inspiration

The Lifeway Recipe Archive is full of synbiotic recipes (some admittedly more nutritious than others). Below are some of our favorite synbiotic meal options to get you started:

Breakfast

Try our Probiotic Kefir Smoothie Bowl with Lifeway Lowfat Plain Kefir, bananas and chopped nuts and seeds for a synbiotic meal full of healthy fats, protein, potassium and calcium.

Lunch

Take a new twist on your deli sandwich by holding the mayo and slathering on a delicious kefir dip as a spread. Choose whole wheat bread and a side salad (covered in our Kefir Ranch Dressing, of course!) for a complete meal.

Dinner

Start springtime off right with our prebiotic and probiotic filled Spring Vegetable Pasta! Asparagus, one of our favorite health ingredient spotlight foods, is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K and folate, and a good source of prebiotics.

For more synbiotic recipe inspiration, check out our Made with Lifeway Pinterest Board!

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18313433
http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-the-dynamic-duo
http://news.health.com/2014/08/27/health-benefits-of-bananas/