Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

Probiotics and Prebiotics- What’s the difference?

By Sarah Axtell, ND July 24, 2008




PRObiotics are the good bugs in your body that support a healthy immune and gastro-intestinal system. Since our diets are typically void of probiotics and our lifestyles can promote extermination of them (ie. taking antibiotics and stress), it is a good idea to supplement with them. You can get them at any health food store in the refrigerated section. Start supplementing your child at an early age to build a solid foundation of health. See previous post on fermented foods for good food sources of probiotics. Common strains of probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

PREbiotics are the non-digestible food sources for the PRObiotics. The bugs have to eat too right? Afterall, they’ve been so good to you- they deserve a good meal! We get prebiotics by eating foods that are high in oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are the carbohydrates found in certain beans, vegetables and fruits that cannot be digested so they hang out in the GI tract and feed the probiotics, promoting their growth.
Sources of Prebiotics include:

INULIN, which is found in:
Fruits: Apples and Bananas
Vegetables: Jerusalem Artichokes (see recipe below), onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus
Herbs: Chicory root, Burdock root, and Dandelion root
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
FOS: a source of inulin added to foods, such as yogurt
Recipe:
Jerusalem Artichoke and Carrot Soup
Delicious soup for the WHOLE family. Appropriate for 8-9 month olds and beyond.
Serves 6-8
Ingredients:
-1 small onion, chopped
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsps butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter spread)
-1.5 lbs Jerusalem Artichokes
-1 lb carrots
-6 cups vegetable stock
-2 tbsps. fresh grated ginger
-salt and pepper
-bunch of parsely, finely chopped
-Dollop of organic plain yogurt (optional)
-Nutritional Yeast (optional)
1. Saute the onion in oil and butter until soft.
2. Discard the hard knobbles of the jerusalem artichokes and chop them. Chop the carrots.
3. Combine all the vegetables together with the onion for 5 mins. Add the stock and ginger and simmer for 20 mins.
4. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender and season with salt and pepper.
5. Top with parsley, yogurt, and nutritional yeast.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


Sign up for our newsletter: