“Put Your Best Fork Forward” is the theme for National Nutrition Month 2017: this serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tools to make healthier food choices. Making small changes over time helps improve health now and into the future. As parents and caregivers, we must make choices that benefit ourselves and those we love. A good strategy is to make good nutrition a goal each and every day. With good nutrition, we will feel better and move more positively through life!
Let us add the goal of adding at least one prebiotic and at least one probiotic into our diets each day.
What are Prebiotics and Probiotics? They are specific functional components of foods that may improve health. Although they are available as dietary supplements, they are natural ingredients found in every day foods. Focus on foods first because they are more readily available for absorption and digestion when compared with supplements!
Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components that are linked to promoting the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics may improve gastrointestinal health as well as potentially enhance calcium absorption. Add foods such as bananas (best when consumed slightly under-ripe or just ripe), onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and whole-wheat foods.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria, or live cultures, just like those naturally found in your gut. These active cultures help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora. This functional component may boost immunity and overall health, especially gastrointestinal health. Add foods such as dairy foods including yogurt, kefir products and aged cheeses, which contain live cultures. Also, non-dairy foods which also have beneficial cultures, include including kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts.
Prebiotics and probiotics work together synergistically and are the keys for good gut health. Incorporating foods containing prebiotics and probiotics into the diet aids in creating a healthier you and a healthier family!