Consuming prebiotic and probiotic foods is a simple way to maintain good gut bacteria and incorporating them into your diet can be easy!

We have outlined 8 examples to keep in your cupboards.

Prebiotic and probiotic foods have an important role in your diet and maintaining a healthy gut, but what is the difference between the two? Prebiotics tend to be found in high fibre foods. Their purpose is to feed the good bacteria in the gut encouraging them to thrive and increase in number. Prebiotics can be found in a range of fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, which you can grow in the garden! Probiotics generally come from fermented foods. Probiotic foods contain live bacteria that when consumed, populate the gut with strains of good bacteria. Probiotics are in fermented products such as yoghurts, certain cheeses, kefir and kombucha.

So here is a list of prebiotic and probiotic foods and how to use them:

Probiotic foods:

  • Miso Paste - Miso is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soy beans. It can be used in sauces, dressings, batters and soups. When using Miso paste, add towards the end of cooking as prolonged cooking time can kill the probiotics.
  • Sauerkraut - Sauerkraut is popular in central and eastern Europe. It is  fermented cabbage that comes in a jar and can be used in hot/cold sandwiches and salads. Again, to get the most benefits from the probiotics, make sure not to kill the bacteria by heating it.
  • Kombucha - Kombucha tea is a drink which originates from eastern Asia. It is now being home brewed worldwide and is an easy way to incorporate probiotics into everyday life. It is a combination of water, sugar, green/black tea, kombucha and a scoby or 'symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast', all fermenting together. Consequently, it takes a little bit more preparation time due to the fermentation process (which takes 7-10 days).
  • Kimchi - Kimchi is a Korean side dish that is popular worldwide and similarly to sauerkraut, is made from fermented cabbage. However, it also contains radish, garlic and red chilli. Use it as a side dish or include it in stews and stir-fries.

Prebiotic Foods:

  • Flaxseed - Hailed as a superfood, Flaxseed is a great source of fibre and prebiotics. Use it as an ingredient when baking or sprinkle into yoghurt, cereal or porridge to add a prebiotic boost to the start the day.
  • Lentils - There are various types of this popular legume but all contain prebiotics. They are widely available and versatile to cook with. You can use them in soups, salads, stews, dals (indian dish), dips and spreads.
  • Oatcakes - Oats are a great source of prebiotics, so try to include oatcakes in your cupboards. They are a great snack on their own or with a topping of your choice.
  • Bran - Bran is the hard outer layers of various cereal grains and is very high in fibre and prebiotics. Use bran in your diet via cereal or other products such as cookies or bread sticks that are also made with bran.

So why not add some prebiotic and probiotic foods into your shopping basket this week? Your gut bacteria will thank you for it.

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Prebiotics are classified as the non-digestible food ingredients that probiotics can feed off. They are used in the gut to increase populations of healthy bacteria, aid digestion and enhance the production of valuable vitamins.

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