Lately, these items have been getting a lot of attention due to their potential role in gut health. Why is gut health important? For many reasons really, one being enhanced immunity against illness, which is really quite fascinating if you think about it. Healthy gut microbiome may be supportive of overall health, disease prevention, and immunity against illness. So let’s look at the differences between prebiotics, probiotics, and fermented foods. Probiotics are living microbes that have a health benefit when consumed. There are several different genus, species, and strains of probiotic cultures. To give an example, in the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus LA1, lactobacillus is the genus, acidophilus is the species, and LA1 is the strain. Research has shown that different genus/species/strains of probiotics may have completely different benefits in our bodies.

Many probiotic dense foods are also considered fermented foods. See the list below 

Prebiotics act as food for the beneficial bacteria of your gut, known as probiotics. Having adequate amounts in the diet can help support a healthy and a thriving gut which, as mentioned above, can, in turn, be supportive of health in the body. Also, prebiotics often is fiber, which may hold food in the stomach longer. When food is in the stomach longer it allows foods to naturally let us know when we are satiated making it easier to identify and respect hunger and fullness cues.

    Examples of prebiotic foods: 

    Apples

    Asparagus

    Bananas

    Barley

    Flaxseed

    Garlic

    Jerusalem Artichoke

    Leeks

    Onions

    Fermented foods are made by using a controlled method of microbial growth and activity. This process acts to preserve food. In some fermented foods, the beneficial bacteria are killed during post-fermentation processing. To help ensure that the beneficial bacteria remain to choose fermented foods that include “living” cultures when available. Fermented foods can be incorporated into your eating habits gradually, over-time as to lower the potential for digestive issues if this is a concern for you.

    Examples of fermented foods:

    Kefir

    Kimchi

    Kombucha

    Miso

    Natto

    Sauerkraut

    Some cheese (aged, soft)

    Tempeh

    Yogurt