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24 Aug, 2023

Eve Kalinik on the power of prebiotics

It can be really confusing to navigate some of the jargon in the realm of gut health, especially differentiating between probiotics and prebiotics so in this article I’ll help you to better understand which is which.


What are Prebiotics?

Many of you may already be familiar with the term ‘probiotics’. Nowadays we have a plethora of probiotic supplements and enriched foods adorning our health food and supermarket shelves. As the science around understanding gut health and ‘beneficial bacteria’ has grown exponentially over the past 50 years we are seeing a huge development in this area. Traditionally, our ancestors would find their probiotics in the form of fermented foods, which thankfully are having a trendy renaissance and one of the best ways to source these good bugs, but you can also find probiotics in supplements.

With this greater insight into probiotics also comes with it a deeper understanding around prebiotics - a term which you may not be so familiar with. Prebiotics have become widely recognised for their powerful role in supporting the health of the gut microbiome and even though there is just one vowel separating probiotics and prebiotics they have very different actions.

Prebiotics can best be defined as a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that beneficially affects the host (that’s you), by stimulating the growth and activity of beneficial microbes in your gut when you ingest them. I often like to use the analogy of a garden when it comes to the gut and you can think of these guys as the ‘fertiliser’ whereas probiotics would be the ‘seeds’. Basically like seeds need their fertiliser to grow so do our beneficial bugs require adequate food in the form of prebiotics. Evolution has also cleverly designed our human gut not to be able to digest the dietary fibre in prebiotics so that they can find their way in tact to the large intestine to feed the majority of our gut bugs. It works in a beautifully harmonious way.

Now, where to find them?

Prebiotics can be found in myriad plant-based foods which means vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts & seeds. However there are some foods that are higher in their prebiotic content which include garlic, onions, leeks, oats, asparagus, apples, under-ripe bananas and chicory. Most importantly, we all need to aim for a rich array as well as sufficient quantity of plants, and therefore prebiotics, more generally in the diet as it is diversity that is essential to help feed different microbes in our gut.

We know that a healthy gut is one that is as diverse as possible and the best way to achieve this is through eating a variety of plants. The 10-Day Gut Reset has therefore been designed to give you a rich abundance and variety of prebiotics throughout to nourish your gut microbiome. Prebiotics can also be taken in a supplement form, which can be useful as some of us need more or less ‘fertiliser’ than others, but we always need to think plants first.

Within our 10-Day Gut Reset, Bimuno has provided a 30-day pack of their Immunity prebiotic supplements. Bimuno is a scientifically proven high fibre prebiotic supplement that feeds and stimulates the good bugs in our gut and supports the health of the gut microbiome. It’s a sachet that is totally tasteless and can be mixed into drinks or food (hot or cold). Symprove has also provided a bottle, which is botha probiotic and prebiotic. The prebiotic element is the extract of germinated barley which is the food source for our live and active bacteria. If you need a little extra help and support with your fibre intake it can be an easy way to gently increase this and give your gut a little more ‘fertiliser’. You should take your Symprove first thing in the morning. We recommend purchasing a subscription using the code DETOX50 for 50% off to help restore your gut in the long-term.

Once our gut microbes have feasted on these prebiotics they give back to us positively by producing specific compounds and substances, known as postbiotics, which have a positive effect on our gut and our overall health. Postbiotics are for another article but you can now see that it really is a symbiotic relationship. We feed our microbes with plentiful amounts of prebiotics and they give back to us generously.

Experience a full gut reset with our 10-Day Gut Reset, offering 10 days of a delicious, gut-focussed menu and bundle of amazing gifts to nurture and support a happy, thriving gut. For transformative, long-lasting health benefits. Find out more here.

Eve Kalinik, nutritional therapist and author of bestselling 'Happy Gut, Happy Mind'. Explore more of Eve's work here.


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