NYC Dietitian Tip of the Month

Boost Your Prebiotics and Probiotics and Boost Your Health

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We’ve become all too accustomed to slapping on anti-bacterial soap and fending off any critters and crawlers we might have.  Add stress, poor nutrition, too much alcohol and sugar in our diet combined with overprescribed antibiotics, and our GI tract (guts and intestines) and health pay a heavy price. These things strip our bodies of the good bacteria they need.

Without good bacteria, our bodies don’t function well.  Prebiotics and probiotics help combat allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and improve gastrointestinal health by leaps and bounds. And  though they are available as dietary supplements, we can save a lot of money simply by eating mindfully, eating well, and finding ways to boost our prebiotics and probiotics intake by incorporating a few extra ingredients in our daily meals.**

Many of us have heard about probiotics over the years, but there’s a symbiotic relationship between prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are the proverbial wind beneath the probiotics’ wings.

Prebiotics  are the good bacteria promoters – think a motivational speaker or coach that gets our bacteria building. Prebiotics are the food for probiotics. So the more food probiotics have to eat, the better the probiotics will function. Many of our favorite foods are natural sources of prebiotics.  Essentially, prebiotics are a type fiber.

prebioticsThe best foods to boost our prebiotics, and feed the probiotics, are:

  • Artichokes
  • Raw onions, leeks and garlic
  • Cooked onions
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Dandelion greens
  • Probiotics are the result of those prebiotic pep talks. Probiotics are live cultures that balance our gut flora.
  • Dairy products are the foods that boost probiotics:
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • kimchi-709607_1920Aged cheeses
  • And non-dairy foods that provide more meals for the good bacteria that help our guts function optimally since they make the probiotics happy include:
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Soy beverages

Now, to max out our health and boost the prebiotics, we can create meals that incorporate both prebiotics and probiotics like: a banana with yogurt or a soy banana shake,  artichoke tempeh salad with Manchego cheese. Finding unique, and tasty, ways to combine prebiotics with probiotics makes for a powerbiotic boost to your GI health.

**Though if you are on an antibiotic, a supplement of probiotics will probably be necessary to assure you restore your body. When taking a supplement it may be best to take one with multiple strains of good bacteria. Most contain 6-8 strains. Some are single strains and some probiotics have been shown in research studies to be specific for resolving certain problems like travelers diarrhea and immunity and urinary tract infections and more.

Reference sites:
http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/event-ideas