We’re really excited that the benefits and importance of probiotics and prebiotics are more and more recognized and celebrated. The greatest thing about probiotics and prebiotics? You’ve probably been enjoying them for ages without realizing it! Some of our favorite pickled and fermented foods are loaded with these beneficial bacteria, and some of our favorite fiber-rich vegetables are prebiotics.
A quick refresher on probiotics—probiotics are good bacteria that live inside our body and on top of our skin to help us. While the exact role and mechanism of all probiotics are still being researched, we do know that a healthy balance of microbes in our body can help improve our overall health, from maintaining a healthy digestive system to warding off malicious infections. If you’re ever prescribed antibiotics, ask your doctor and pharmacist if probiotics can lessen side effects.
Our favorite plant-based vegan sources for probiotics include well-known fermented food like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and sour pickles. Kombucha, which is tea fermented with yeast and bacteria culture, is incredibly refreshing and healthy. Think of kombucha as a probiotic -filled alternative to soda. Brine-cured olives are also a great source of probiotics, meaning that dirty martini with extra olives has some health benefits.
Natural sources of probiotics come with their own source of prebiotics to eat! Prebiotics are food for probiotics—they include high-fiber foods that our stomachs can’t digest, leaving them intact for probiotics to feed on.
Prebiotics tend to have added health benefits—some are loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties while others have been found to help control blood glucose levels. For example, konjac roots, a tubular plant popular in Asian cuisines, are filled with glucomannan fiber, a fantastic prebiotic. Konjac roots are sold as shirataki noodles in Asian markets, making them a great alternative to rice or flour-based noodles. We also love chicory root, which is full of inulin, a healthy soluble fiber that we put into Just Add Water™ Nutrient Packed Power Snack.
Incorporating more probiotics and prebiotics into your diet doesn’t have to be hard. You probably have a lot of prebiotics stocked in your fridge already, like carrots, garlic, asparagus, and tomatoes! Next time you snack on carrots, use a coconut-based yogurt as a dip for a tasty treat filled with probiotics and prebiotics!
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