This post was written by our former University of New Hampshire dietetic intern Jennifer Behymer, MS as part of a mini blog series on fermented dairy.
Many people are aware of probiotics and the health benefits related to consuming them on a daily basis. We previously shared some background information on this topic and also introduced you to some fermented dairy foods that contain probiotics in a previous post. But did you know that probiotics can’t do all the work on their own, and that they need the help of prebiotics?
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are the non-digestible, fibrous parts of foods that support the growth of health-promoting bacteria in the the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. One such group of prebiotic fibers found in a variety of foods are fructooligosaccharides. You may have heard of inulin, which is a type of fructooligosaccharide. Organic acids, such as butyric acid and lactic acid, are produced in your gut when prebiotics are available to feed the good bacteria. These acids keep your colon healthy and prevent harmful bacteria from taking over your GI tract.
What foods are they found in?
It may be surprising to learn that the foods you enjoy every day contain the prebiotics you need. Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichokes, and mushrooms all contain prebiotics. They can also be found in grains such as whole wheat, barley, oats, and rye. Natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup, are also sources of prebiotics that pair nicely with the probiotics in fermented dairy products. By pairing prebiotics with probiotic food sources on a daily basis, you are promoting the development of beneficial gut bacteria and for a healthy GI system.
Pre- and Probiotic Pairings
- Honey and Greek yogurt
- Oatmeal, whole wheat, banana pancakes with maple syrup (recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com)
- Maple syrup or honey with yogurt
- Yogurt sauce with roasted leeks or other veggies (recipe courtesy of Viet Pham)
- Watch our Roasted Leeks and Yogurt Sauce recipe video!
- Overnight oats with kefir
- Watch out Overnight Kefir & Oats recipe video!