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What’s a prebiotic?

We know that gut health is one of the most important things we can support when we’re looking to take care of our overall wellbeing, but how do we take care of it? One of the buzzwords in the world of wellbeing is ‘prebiotic’ - which sounds pretty unappetising, but could be something you’re already including in your diet, but as knowledge is power (and wellbeing in this instance), knowing what you’re including in your diet can be the wellness superpower we all need to feel happy and healthy.

So what is a prebiotic, why do you want it and how can you get it?

prebiotic - gut health

What’s a prebiotic?

A prebiotic is defined by the Mayo Clinic as:

“Specialised plant fibres. They act like fertilisers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.” 

They can be taken in supplement form, and can also typically found in high fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains. For example:

  • Whole grains
  • Bananas
  • Greens
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Soybeans
  • Artichokes

How is it different to a probiotic?

A probiotic is a little different (although probably more commonly talked about). Again, deferring to the wisdom of the Mayo Clinic, they describe them as:

“Different in that they contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut.”

Again, these can be taken as supplements, but they are also found in bacteria-fermented foods, such as:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi

Why are probiotics good for you?

The main purpose of a prebiotic as far as our health goes, is that they help to keep our gut and digestive system healthy. Increasingly, there is a school of thought that the gut has enormous influence over our mental and physical wellbeing. Good bacteria plays a defining role in this, helping to ward off pathogens in the intestinal tract, influence our immune system and our allergy risks. It’s also interesting to see how it has an impact on our emotional and mental health.

Stephanie Moore, Clinical Nutritionist at Grayshott Health Spa, said:

“There are studies proving that our gut bacteria has a direct impact on anxiety levels and stress resilience.”

Want to know more about supercharging your gut health? Take a look at some of the recipes and nutritional advice from the UK’s top spa destinations.


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