You’ve probably heard of prebiotics and probiotics before, but do you actually know what they are? More importantly, do you know how they can improve your health and even help you lose weight?
If not, then this is the post for you. I’m going to break down exactly what these mystery items are, as well as how prebiotic and probiotic foods can benefit your health and slim down your waistline. Keep reading to learn more!
Prebiotics, Prebiotic Foods and Weight Loss
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that feed and encourage the growth of bacteria – the good kind – that lives in your gut. These bacteria, namely bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, are crucial to your digestion and overall health.
Though you can take prebiotic supplements to improve the bacteria and flora in your gut, the best way to get prebiotics is through good old fibrous food. Just a few of the top prebiotic foods include:
- Dandelion greens
Prebiotics like these foods help you lose weight in a number of ways. First of all, they’re very low in calories, but because they’re fibrous, they’re very filling. That means you’re fuller longer, and you won’t get cravings or overeat later on in the day. This is crucial if you want to cut calories and lose weight.
These foods also help clear out your digestive tract, and ensure your body can properly process foods. Through these, you get less bloating, you’re able to absorb nutrients better, and your body’s able to break down fats better.
Prebiotics are also known to help with other health conditions, like diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation, depression, mood disorders and more. Some studies have even researched its impact on cancer cells. Additionally, prebiotics are known to increase calcium absorption and, therefore, improve your bone density.
To get the most benefit from prebiotic foods, it’s generally better to eat them raw, rather than cooked or frozen.
Probiotics, Probiotic Foods and Weight Loss
Probiotics are similar to prebiotics, although they are actually live microbes – bacteria that are digested and make a home within your gut. It sounds creepy, but these microbes do amazing things for your body. They process fibers and keep your bowels regular, and they help you absorb minerals in the same way that prebiotics do. They’re also crucial to fighting off bad bacteria – things like E. Coli and Salmonella, namely.
Much like prebiotics, a large part of the weight loss effects of probiotics comes from their effect on your digestive system. Because they keep this area healthy, you’re better able to process foods, break down fats, and get the nutrients your body needs to get by. They also help create feelings of fullness, fighting off cravings and keeping your appetite in check.
Additionally, probiotics also contain an enzyme that lets your body absorb foods that wouldn’t otherwise be digestible. This increases the amount of calories you use – rather than the ones that get stored as fat on your hips, thighs and butt.
A recent study published in Nature magazine actually proved the relation between gut health and weight loss, and as probiotics play a large role in your gut’s ability to do its job, it’s no wonder probiotic supplements and foods are becoming increasingly more popular every year.
Another study by Laval University in Canada followed 125 men and women for 12 weeks. Half of the group took daily probiotic pills, while others did not. Once the study concluded, the women who took daily probiotics lost 9.7 pounds. The women who did not take probiotics lost only 5.7. Even after the study concluded, the women who took probiotics lost an average of 1.8 pounds more in the following months.
The biggest food that contains probiotics is yogurt, but you’ll want to be careful about what kind you buy. Many yogurts contain tons of extra sugars, additives and preservatives, and when you’re trying to lose weight, those are not things you want to be consuming. Other foods that contain probiotics include:
- Sauerkraut (be sure to choose unpasteurized)
- Miso soup
- Soft cheeses, like gouda
- Kefir, a yogurt-like drink
- Sourdough bread
- Sour pickles
- Tempeh, a type of soybean patty
Supplements are also a fine option especially if you are looking to lose weight; you can usually find them in pill, tablet, powder and sometimes, even in liquid form. Make sure to choose a well-known brand with a quality reputation. Don’t go bargain-hunting for things that can improve your health!
Get Your Probiotics and Prebiotics
Are you getting probiotics and prebiotics in your diet? If not, it’s time to consider it. Not only can they improve your overall health, they can help you slim down, too. And who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds here and there?
Do you take probiotics or prebiotics? Will you start to? Let me know in the comments.