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Prebiotics and Probiotics

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Prebiotics and Probiotics

What are they and why should we be thinking about them?

Right now were on the verge of some pretty interesting research in probiotics and probiotics, and its becoming clear that they are linked to more than just good gut flora. But at the very least, good gut flora helps with gastrointestinal (GI) health- and the better we digest and assimilate the nutrients from our food the better, right?

So, what are they? Prebiotics are non-digestable ingredients in our food that basically feed the good bacteria. (They also help promote calcium absorption). Probiotics are the good bacteria. Probiotics help boost immunity, and GI health. When eaten together, in the same meal or throughout the day, you are revving up your digestive health. If you do this, and eat a healthy diet you are significantly enhancing your bodys ability to use the nutrients you are consuming, and supporting good GI flora, which in turn is helping your body fight inflammation and other chronic illnesses.

What do you eat to make sure you are getting Prebiotics and Probiotics in your diet? Yes, yogurt is a great source- make sure to check the sugar content, as some yogurts contain high amounts of added sugars. But what else? Here are some examples of foods that contain these gut-loving ingredients:

Prebiotics: bananas (*highest amount), onions and leeks, garlic, asparagus, artichokes, and whole-wheat foods

*soybens also contain probiotics, but unless they are organic they are not a preferred source

Probiotics: fermented dairy foods contain live cultures (good bacteria) like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli- foods like yogurt and kefir products (again, check the sugar content!) and aged cheeses. For non-dairy foods that have beneficial cultures, try kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and organic miso/organic soy.

In combination, try some bananas on yogurt, or make a dip with aged cheese and artichokes and spread it on some whole wheat crackers or toast. You dont have to eat them at the same meal to enjoy the benefits- have a banana with breakfast and steamed asparagus with dinner.

Watch this very short clip for an easy, more healthy- still delicious cheese/artichoke dip!



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