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There are probiotic and prebiotic foods. What’s the difference?

garlic

photo credit: wuestenigel Products, garlic and onion via photopin (license)

Probiotic foods contain friendly bacteria that can help promote health. Prebiotic foods are foods that support the action of probiotics, meaning your body gets more benefits. It sounds a bit confusing, but the point is, the two types of foods are thought to work together to improve your digestion and overall wellness.

According to One Green Planet:

Prebiotic foods are like fuel for good bacteria. They have certain fibrous carbohydrates that nourish the good bacteria to help it to grow. This process helps build a healthy microbiome, which is our defense system against toxins we encounter from animal products, the environment, poor quality tap-water, and common yeast and viruses or other types of fungi.

So, get out your grocery list and make note. Here are six super prebiotic foods to add to your eating plan.

Apples

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy lots of fresh, crisp seasonal apples — and it will do your gut a world of good. Apples are rich in a fibre called pectin which feeds good bacteria. They are also high in vitamin C, to help boost your immunity in cold weather.

apples

photo credit: Mal Booth Still Life – Fruit via photopin (license)

Bananas

Everyone’s favourite smoothie starter is also a great prebiotic. Bananas are high in fibre but gentle on the stomach. They are a great source of potassium, making them ideal for topping up your electrolytes after a sweaty hot yoga session. I like to chop up a few ripe bananas and keep them in the freezer to add to smoothies.

Beans

The complex starches in beans feed the good bacteria in your gut. Some people find them hard to stomach at first, but you can ease any problems by soaking them overnight and cooking them till they are very soft. One of my favourite ways to eat beans is whizzed up in a dip like hummus, which is even easier to digest.

Cabbage

It’s the main ingredient in sauerkraut and kimchi so it’s no surprise cabbage is good for you, even un-fermented! Shred it up in salad or coleslaw, or add it to hearty autumn soups or stews. You can even use whole leaves to make gluten free wraps.

Garlic & Onions

Garlic and onions have so many health benefits, they should practically be on prescription. Their antibacterial properties help defend your gut against bad bacteria while promoting the growth of good. Yogis also benefit from their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Sweet potatoes

Another autumn staple, sweet potatoes are can be roasted, fried, baked, boiled, mashed or made into crisps. They are packed with soluble fibre which is important for your gut health. Hot yoga fans take note, they are another great source of potassium for post-studio refueling.

Have a seasonal recipe or food tip? Share in the comments!