Most of us have heard quite a bit about probiotics. They’re the friendly bacteria that live in your digestive system and help keep you healthy. These beneficial “gut flora” support your immune system and help your body absorb nutrients. But they don’t work alone.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that help keep your gut flora healthy, which in turn keeps you healthy. They are a type of dietary fiber that makes up the main food source for probiotics living in your gut. You need to eat both prebiotics and probiotics to keep the bacteria in your gut healthy.
What’s A Prebiotic?
While probiotics are fairly well understood, the discovery of prebiotics is relatively recent. Even the term “prebiotis” has only been around since 1995. But the more we learn about them, the more we realize how important they are to keeping our guts happy and healthy.
Prebiotics are indigestible, soluble fibers made of non-living organic matter. They aren’t the same kind of fiber that we usually think of when someone talks about high-fiber foods like whole grains and vegetables. Those fibers are insoluble, meaning they pass through your digestive system relatively intact. That makes them great for cleansing the body, regulating blood sugar, and keeping your bowels moving like they should.
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, has a unique composition that lets your gut flora break it down in the colon. As this fiber breaks down, it ferments and creates a gel-like substance that slows digestion down so your body has time to absorb more nutrients. And it also releases prebiotic compounds that probiotics feed on.
How To Eat Pre- and Probiotics
While prebiotics and probiotics are available in supplement form, it’s healthier if you can incorporate foods containing these substances into your diet. Pre- and probiotics from natural food sources are healthy, safe, and easy for your body to use.
Probiotics are found mostly in fermented foods. Particularly good sources include homemade yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, sourdough bread, and sauerkraut. At Crucial FOUR, we also offer probiotics packed in a “snackable” form as our mRawBliss dark chocolates. The probiotics in this product come from kefir.
Prebiotics are found in foods that contain soluble fiber. These include chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, onions, asparagus, wheat bran, and bananas. We also include prebiotics in Crucial FOUR’s mBreakfast Organic Superfood Powder. If you use that product as your source for prebiotics, you won’t have to worry about smelling like onions and garlic and you’ll be getting a whole lot of other healthy nutrients at the same time. It’s a perfect way to kick-start your day and support your digestive health.