Probiotics 101: What You Need to Know
Probiotics and prebiotics are buzz words you hear all the time these days, but what exactly are they and what do they do in your body? Keep reading for answers!
Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization as “live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, confers a health benefit to the host.” Now what does this mean for your body? Probiotics have many proposed benefits such as helping regulate your immune and digestive system, protecting your gut barrier, reducing your bad cholesterol level, and modestly lowering blood pressure. More and more potential benefits are being discovered as scientists continue to research the topic. However, it’s very important to remember there are thousands of different strains of probiotics and any health benefits that they may impart are specific to the strain.
There are a few ways you can include probiotics in your diet, including fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and probiotic-containing products designed to supplement the diet, like our new thinkThin® Protein & Probiotic Hot Oatmeal. Certain strains of live probiotics added to foods, like the GanedenBC30 strain found in thinkThin® Protein & Probiotic Hot Oatmeal, don’t even need to stay refrigerated to stay alive, unlike the strains found in yogurt and kefir. That’s because they form a dormant shell, which protects the bacteria until it’s in a very specific environment with food and water; until then it remains perfectly stable and intact. As it enters the end of your digestive system, it comes out of the dormant state and starts to provide the benefits to your gut!
What about prebiotics? They serve as the food for the good bacteria in your gut to help support their growth and protect your gut from inflammation and permeability. The key difference between probiotics and prebiotics is prebiotics are not live microorganisms. Prebiotics help produce gut hormones that signal feeling full. These non-digestible carbs can be found in foods like whole-wheat products, oats, barley, lentils, flax seeds, chicory root, soybeans, apples, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes.
Inulin, found in chicory root, is a soluble fiber and considered one type of prebiotic. It helps stimulate the release of certain hormones to help you feel full and may help blood sugar control as well as slow the growth of other harmful bacteria. Inulin can be also be found and other fruits and vegetables.
Consuming both probiotics and prebiotics together in a food, like thinkThin® Protein & Probiotic Hot Oatmeal, can be considered advantageous because it contains both the good bacteria and the “food” to support its growth.
Our gut microbiota is so intricate. It’s now clear that they do a lot more in your body than just helping digestion. Try regularly consuming probiotic and prebiotic foods to maximize your health! To help get you started, below is a printable coupon for $1.00 off your next purchase on any two (2) thinkThin® Protein Hot Oatmeals.