You may have noticed a backlash against yogurt on social media. It seems that people can’t get enough of the fact that yogurt is labeled as having “live active cultures.” One video called, “My Yogurt is Alive!’ even goes so far as to suggest that yogurt is eating you from the inside, which is why it makes you lose weight. Well, funny as that concept may seem, there is nothing diabolical in your yogurt, but there are living organisms in it. But, before you go off your froyo completely, it is important to know that these are good organisms, organisms that help your body’s digestion. These are called probiotics.
You may also have heard the term “prebiotics” and thought this was merely probiotics with a type or some kind of tomato/ tomahato kind of thing. Probiotics and prebiotics are related, but they are not the same.
What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics?
Found in fermented foods, probiotics make their home along the digestive tract with other good bacteria colonies. People consume them to help with an imbalance of bacteria in the gut caused by pollutants, food, illness and stress. Prebiotics are not alive. They are the food of probiotics and help probiotics to do their job. They are found in fiber rich foods and, besides assisting probiotics, have beneficial qualities of their own.
Benefits of Prebiotics
Prebiotics are known to help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals,and are good for laxation, metabolism, the immune system and are known to encourage healthy blood sugar. While they are generally beneficial to health, some research shows that they can upset the symptoms of people with gastrointestinal illnesses , like irritable bowel syndrome.
Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are known for their support of digestion and intestinal health. The bacteria are also known to be impactful in the stages of early childhood. They have been prescribed for intestinal problems and inflammatory bowel diseases. Probiotics have also been used to treat sufferers of oral and periodontal disease and are also sometimes taken in tandem with antibiotics to balance the effects.
Recent studies suggest that probiotics can help to restrain the mechanisms that cause sensitivity to allergens and autoimmune disease, positively affecting the ability to breathe. They have also been determined to assist in the promotion of regulated bowel movements.
Studies done on animals show that probiotics also increase serotonin levels, which occur, surprisingly, in the gut, and prevent anxiety and decline of cognition.
Where Can I Find Them?
Prebiotic and probiotic are both found in yogurt. Prebiotics are also in dandelion greens, garlic, asparagus, chicory root, beans, and oats. Probiotics are found in kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and pickled veggies.
Bottom Line? Do not fear the yogurt! There are plenty of bacteria swimming around your body already, so why not give them some company? Eat your probiotics and prebiotics and let us know how they help you.