The perks of probiotics (and prebiotics)

When most of us hear the word “bacteria,” we tend to run in the opposite direction. But not all bacteria are harmful. In fact, many types are necessary for your body to function properly. Believe it or not, the microorganisms (like bacteria) in your body outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. And we actually have about 3 pounds of bacteria in our digestive tracks. These good bacteria are essential for breaking down food, producing nutrients and defending the body from disease-causing intruders. So now that you know the benefits of good bacteria, here’s how you can give your gut health a boost.


Note: While both prebiotics and probiotics are available as supplements, they are more easily digested and absorbed by your body when you eat foods that naturally contain them.



What they are:


A natural, non-digestible (and non-living) form of fiber that feeds probiotics. This helps the growth of “good” bacteria in your gut. Live bacteria that occur naturally in your digestive system and help keep your gut flora (the community of microorganisms that live in your gut) in balance.

How they may help:


  • Promotes good bacteria.
  • Improves digestion and gastrointestinal (GI) health.
  • Might boost calcium and magnesium absorption.
  • Strengthens immune system.
  • Manages symptoms of GI problems like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Prevents allergy symptoms.
  • Lessens symptoms of lactose intolerance.
  • Prevents and treats urinary tract and yeast infections.
  • Prevents or lessens severity of colds and flu.

Foods they’re found in:


Whole grains, onions, raw garlic, honey, artichokes, asparagus and soybeans. Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, tempeh and kombucha.


If you’re thinking about starting probiotic supplements, be sure to talk with your doctor first.


Be good to your gut

Check out our Healthy Recipes Pinterest board for tasty meals that can help you boost the prebiotics and probiotics in your diet.