You’ve no doubt heard about probiotics – the good bacteria that lives in foods like yoghurt to help keep your body working well. But did you know there are also prebiotics and postbiotics? Our bodies need all three of them to live in balance for good gut health, so here’s everything you need to know about them.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are commonly referred to as the ‘good’ bacteria, but in reality it’s all about getting your gut health balanced. These living strains of bacteria work their magic in your digestive system, and the easiest way to build up your gut’s probiotic population is by eating the right foods or supplements.
There’s an entire ecosystem of bacteria that lives in your gut – there are actually more bacterial cells here than there are human cells in your entire body. That’s why you need to ensure you’re keeping your good bacteria at the right levels for ongoing health.
Some of the most common ways to find probiotics include:
- Yoghurt with live cultures
- Cheeses like Gouda, cheddar, parmesan and Swiss cheeses
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso and kimchi
Another way to get a healthy dose of probiotics is in supplements. Meluka’s Raw Honey Probiotic Concentrate, for example, is bio-fermented with six multi-strain probiotics and goes great in juices, smoothies and salad dressings.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are compounds that serve as food for all the good bacteria in your gut. They stimulate growth of these bacteria to ensure a balanced gut is maintained. These workhorses allow probiotics to flourish – essentially, they are to probiotics what soil is to flowers.
Prebiotics can be found naturally in a number of things, such as:
- Vegetables like leek, asparagus, garlic and onions.
- Fruits like apples and bananas.
- Cocoa, oats and flaxseed.
- Roots like the burdock, yacon, jicama and chicory roots.
Some of these things are hard to get hold of, in which case you can use raw honey as a supplement. They are fantastic in a range of recipes – from a Tea Tree flavoured Raw Honey Probiotic Concentrate Drink to an Autumn-inspired Mocktail. You can check out even more pre- and probiotic-infused recipes here.
What are postbiotics?
So, what about postbiotics? These aren’t very well known, especially compared to probiotics, but they serve a very important purpose to balancing your gut health. In fact, many of the benefits that have been attributed to prebiotics may actually be due to postbiotics doing the heavy lifting.
In short, “postbiotics are by-products of the fermentation process carried out by probiotics in the intestine. In other words, as probiotics feed on prebiotics, post-biotics are produced. They are basically the ‘waste’ of probiotics”.
But this ‘waste’ is the reason for various health-boosting gut functions. Enzymes, organic acids, carbonic substances and bacteriocins are all examples of postbiotics, and they are the natural result of microorganisms doing their thing in your gut. To put it simply, probiotics feed on prebiotics, and the good bacteria that results from this is the postbiotics. They are the end result of taking probiotics and prebiotics to maximise the health of your gut.
The key to balanced gut health
As you now know, it’s vital that all three ‘biotics’ work together in harmony for a healthy, happy gut. To ensure you’re meeting your body’s good bacteria needs, try including both probiotics and prebiotics into your everyday diet. A simple change in what you eat can make a big difference in a small amount of time – even just a few days is enough to make you feel better.