Fork Fed: The “Pre” and “Pro” Biotics – Explained!

Post by Fork Fed

stomach

I don’t know about you guys, but pre- and probiotics have always been confusing for me. It hasn’t been until recently that scientists and nutritionist have felt that strongly about the benefits of pre- and probiotics, as well as the importance of including them in our diet. Personally, I don’t like taking supplements and always prefer taking in my nutrients from a natural form. Let’s take a look at them in a bit more detail.

– Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria (good bacteria) that enhances our gut flora. These types of bacteria helps protect our digestive tracts from fungi.

– Prebiotics are usually found in the fiber that our gut is unable to digest THAT the probiotic bacteria uses as food.

You might be thinking why it is important to include the probiotics to enhance your gut flora?

– The reason is that sometimes we make food choices that can impact our gut health, which could make us feel bloated or easily prone to getting sick. We already have both good and bad bacteria in our gut, the key point is to enhance or help the good bacteria overgrow the bad bacteria and therefore helping us feel better and digest food better.

– High-sugar and high-fat foods enhance the growth of the bad bacteria in our gut, which could slow down the digestive process making you feel unhealthy and could stop you from losing weight.

Taking a look at our food:
Prebiotic Foods (foods that feed good bacteria):
Foul (broad beans)
– Chickpeas
– Bananas
– Berries
– Garlic
– Onion
– Oats

Probiotic Foods (foods containing the good bacteria):
– Kefir
– Fermented  Cheese/yogurt (soft cheeses)
– Miso
– Non-pasteurized pickles
– Kombucha
– Kimchi

As you can see, getting probiotics from your diet is a bit difficult, while getting prebiotics is much easier. This is were probiotic supplementation could come into play. When looking at supplements, make sure they label the number of live bacteria available per dose (20 billion should be your target),  as well as the type of bacteria being used, and the expiry date (live bacteria can’t live on forever). I hope this helps!

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

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16 comments, add your own...


  1. kareem says:

    any idea if i can find kefir starter in kuwait ?

  2. thomaskuwait says:

    Most of the Yoghurt you get in the market are pasteurized. Do they still have the live good bacteria (Lacto bacillus, Bifidus etc:)? Are these pasteurized yogurts as good as the ‘fresh’ ones?

    The only option for ‘Fresh’ yogurt is from Alban.

    • Fork Fed says:

      Hello Thomas,

      With the process of pasteurization unfortunately most of the live bacteria is killed, because it isn’t resistant to high heat. Some companies like activia re-add the live bacteria after pasturization. Look for a product that has bio-live (meaning containing live bacteria) and that mentions the stand of bacteria in the yogurt.
      Fresh yogurt is also pasteurized, so it does lose some not all of its live bacteria. It’s a very debatable issue.

  3. mentabolism says:

    How do we get some probiotics into our system.
    Besides Activia, are there any other commercially available products, that you would recommend?

    • Fork Fed says:

      Hello mentabolism,

      Kumbucha tea is a great source of probiotics and so is kefir (sold in some hypermarkets). Some unpasteurized pickles also have some amounts of probiotics in them.

      I hope that helps!

  4. M says:

    You explained the pre- and pro-biotics very well. However, The clinical effect of both is questionable. Extensive research has been done and results are not consistent. The only consistent benefit fro probiotics was found for antibiotic associated diarrhea and viral gastroenteritis, results for the rest (IBS, C. difficile infection, traveller’s diarrhea) are variable and are species and dose specific. The doses used in studies of LGG (I think you were referring to this probiotic) were 10-40 billion.

    BTW, live bacteria can live as long as nutrients are available and this is not related to expiry date

    • meh says:

      I was given probiotics because i had stomach pain from an antibiotic. I have noticed that it also enormously improved bowel movements. I can finally enjoy indian food with no regrets.

      • Fork Fed says:

        Dear meh,

        Many times the antibiotics we take end up killing the good and bad bacteria in our colon. It is always a good idea to take a dose of probiotics after taking antibiotics. Thanks for sharing!

    • Fork Fed says:

      Dear M,

      Thank you for your comment, with everything nutritional research is still ongoing. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  5. James says:

    Dear Hyatt,
    Thanks for sharing with us. There are a ton of readers but very few may step in the comments section – this isn’t a contentious issue that demands input and anyway who wants to fill the comments section each time you post with rows of “Thanks”

    Keep up the wonderful support you are extending here and elsewhere!

    • Fork Fed says:

      Thank you James for your wonderful comment! I’m glad you are enjoying my posts. Should there be anything you would like me to write about please feel free to share!

      • NS says:

        I wish who visits Mark blog research further for better health. Look at “Hayatt” links on youtube hardly any viewers. The young lady is doing good job so follow up on her mission. She had 5 parts of this link, hope to see later on more viewers.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lM9ZT5JCOU

        By the way I personally don’t endorse or advertise for any whether a company or individual. I just like sharing better updated info (retired educator). So here some links to help you whether in Kuwait, USA or around the world.

        http://cornucopia.org/yogurt-scorecard/

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

        Please watch out for (carrageenan) in any food label that might many of you have upset stomach not knowing that its the cause of such. Trust me I have been over 30 years Independent Consumer Safety Advocate calling mostly about yogurt with all the added stuff that ruin the real active culture. I make my own yogurt since the time I worked in Kuwait for 16 years as we basically discovered how to make good real one. Besides, I will run away off Activia read their misleading claims:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activia

        http://www.dietspotlight.com/activia-review/

        Lastly, be aware not to order any probiotic stuff from Amazon except if its packed with freezer packaging before you receive it with dead bacteria complete waste- it is a fridge item.

  6. Hey Fajer,

    Wonderful post! Probiotics are grossly underrated however I want to make two points.

    1) The Kefir that I’ve been getting from the Sultan Center is the notorious Lifeway brand which is pasteurized.

    2) Sultan Center at Sharq Mall used to carry KOMBUCHA! Yes, you heard that right. I used to guzzle that shit down almost every day in America. Love it! Sadly, they stopped carrying it but before the last stash ran out, I made sure to buy a few.

    Here’s a picture of it:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BCA6ZGkIogq/?taken-by=bollywoodoverhollywood

  7. Damn, I’m so sorry, I meant Hyatt.

    Guess I confused the two.


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