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Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

Our bodies are fascinating machines. Without any input, they function every single day, at a microscopic level. Such a fine-tuned phenomenon – every part of our body functions in correlation with other parts of our body.  Within this complex machine, there are about 30 trillion human cells in the body, according to Weizmann Institute of Science (for the benefit of humanity) scientists and over 100 trillion bacteria, or gut microflora, lining the intestinal tract.  Somewhat mind-boggling, isn’t it?

The microflora is the major controller of our immune system and health. It is an extremely complex living system that aggressively protects your body from outside offenders, processes our foods, helps to absorb nutrients and signals many of our body’s functions. Among this ecosystem in the gut, there are both good and bad bacteria. The ultimate goal is to keep both types of bacteria in harmony and balance.

We have written multiple articles (2017 Hottest Trends; What’s What) on how a diet of refined sugar and processed food can promote the growth of harmful/bad bacteria and disrupt the balance of good bacteria that is needed to stay healthy and well.  The good news is there is a way to influence the balance and production of good bacteria in our gut based on what we ingest.

There is a ton of discussion around the benefits of adding probiotics to your diet to help promote good gut flora. But, how? And is that enough?

There’s another piece to the equation – prebiotics. Something we do not hear about as often.

Very simply:

Probiotics are the living, good microorganisms found in bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract that help with digestion and other health benefits including keeping us regular, building a strong immune system, reducing lactose intolerance, lowering disease and supporting mental health. They can come from the food we eat or from supplements.

Examples include: yogurt (especially 24-hour fermented yogurt), kefir; aged cheese, fermented veggies (sauerkraut, pickles, etc), kombucha and even some wine (woop, woop!)

Prebiotics are food for probiotics. They are non-living, non-digestible fibers your body can’t digest but your gut flora can – promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. Good bacteria thrive on prebiotic foods, which help them stick to bowel walls and stimulate their growth. Prebiotics also help ward off harmful organisms.

Examples include: raw garlic, raw & cooked onions, bananas, kiwi, raw asparagus, green leafy veggies.

You should aim to consume at least 5 grams of prebiotic dense foods a day.

(Side note: antibiotics not only kill germs, they also kill probiotics in your system)

What’s the bottom line?

A diet lacking in both pre and probiotics can allow bad bacteria to flourish – which can lead to poor digestion, bloating, damage to the gut lining, increase in infections, allergies and ultimately auto-immune disease. Too much bad bacteria in your gut can also affect your emotional and mental health, as many of our brain chemicals are produced in the gut. The gut-brain connection is real and is talked about at length in Dr. David Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain.

It’s important to note, cooking can also detriment the effectiveness of the foods – in many cases, it’s best to eat raw as much as possible.

Why 24-Hour Fermented Yogurt

We listed 24-hour fermented yogurt above as one of the strongest probiotics available. But why?

Throughout the fermentation process, lactose is broken down and probiotics can flourish and grow in a thriving environment. Our 24-hour fermented yogurt is completely lactose free and one of the most dense probiotic foods you can consume.

Benefits include:

  • Only one cup has 700+ billion beneficial bacteria (50 times more than the conventional 15 billion capsule).
  • It contains protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and healthy fats.
  • It has a higher probiotic count than commercial yogurt since it is fermented longer.
  • The bacteria in 24-hour fermented yogurt is living (vs. dormant bacteria in a capsule).
  • The cultures produce lactic acid from the lactose in the milk, therefore many people who are lactose intolerant eat 24-hour fermented yogurt.

We serve 24-hour fermented yogurt at Squirrel & The Bee plain or as a yogurt parfait with our homemade (just can’t have one bite) granola and homemade raspberry jam. It’s literally like a sundae.

We also offer multiple varieties of prebiotics (we cook with fresh onions & garlic) including fermented pickles, sauerkraut and multiple varieties of kombucha.

Time to run off and build our good bacteria battleground…

Any questions? We are always here to help. You can always shoot us an email: info@squirrelandthebee.com

 

 

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