As mentioned in the previous article, PRObiotics are beneficial microorganisms that contribute to a healthy intestinal tract and digestion, while PREbiotics are the food sources which support the growth of these favorable bacteria.
By colonizing the digestive tract of mammals, probiotic bacteria provide many beneficial effects to the host, including stimulation of the immune system and synthesis of vitamins such as vitamin K, in addition to competing with and displacing intestinal pathogenic organisms that compromise our health. Furthermore, these healthy gut bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that serve as a fuel source for the cells of the digestive tract – contributing to better digestion and nutrient absorption.
Foods that supply probiotic bacteria include some yogurts, kefir, and other fermented foods like sauerkraut. Probiotics can also be obtained as freeze-dried supplements, and multiple formulations containing several bacterial strains are available.
Prebiotic foods that nourish and support the growth of beneficial (probiotic) bacteria include garlic, beans, carrots, onions, honey, rye, asparagus, bananas, oats, and Jerusalem artichoke to name a few.
Therefore, if you want to improve your digestive health, include in your diet beneficial sources of probiotic bacteria, either as foods or supplements, and consume wholesome foods that provide the nutrients to support the growth of these valuable microorganisms.