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Do I need probiotics and prebiotics? What foods can they be found in?

We hear messages in media proclaiming the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics, but do we know that they are? Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that research studies suggest have the potential to boost immunity and overall gut health. Prebiotics are non-digestible components of food that support the beneficial probiotics. Sources of these beneficial components include foods such as:

  • Probiotics: yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh
  • Prebiotics: bananas, onions, garlic, artichokes, soybeans, and whole-wheat foods

Including these foods in your diet can improve digestion and help you feel your best.

Try having a yogurt parfait for breakfast a couple of times a week – choose a yogurt with little to no added sugar and top with fruit (banana is a great choice) and homemade granola for a delicious boost. If you do not consume dairy, you can still get the same probiotic benefits from a non-dairy yogurt–many are coconut, soy, or almond-based and widely available. Again, look for one that has no added sweeteners.

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Photo by Carina Baumgartner

 

Miso can be easily added to any soup base or salad dressing and has a lovely flavour. It is usually used in Asian dishes, but don’t feel like you have to be restricted to that.

 

Tempeh is a fermented soy-based food. If you have never tried it, give it a go! It can usually be found in the tofu section of the grocery store. Try making tempeh “ribs” with your favourite barbecue sauce, or tempeh “bacon” by slicing thinly, marinating in soy sauce or tamari, a bit of honey, and a dash of liquid smoke, and frying in a pan.

You likely already incorporate a lot of prebiotic foods in your diet, but it’s a good idea to eat them more often if you do not usually. Add onion and garlic into savoury meals for extra flavour and benefits, try artichoke hearts in a salad, or steam some edamame beans for a tasty snack.

 Homemade Tempeh Bacon 8 Ingredients Sweet Simple Vegan
Photo by Sweet Simple Vegan

Gut health is so important, so try these tips out and see how you feel! A happy gut often contributes to a happy mind.