As parents we want to make the right choices for our growing little ones. We are told prebiotics and probiotics are important for their health, but what are they and why are they so valuable?
Probiotics vs prebiotics
While they may sound very similar, prebiotics and probiotics are quite different – but together they promote good gut health.
Probiotics are healthy live bacteria and yeasts that aid digestion and create a healthy environment in the gut. Probiotics are naturally found in a healthy person, but are also available in some foods and supplements.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that stimulate the activity of gut micro-organisms, including probiotics. In a nutshell, prebiotics feed probiotics and other good bacteria in our bodies.
When prebiotics and probiotics are combined, they are ‘synbiotic’ – and foods that combine both, such as yoghurt and kefir, are termed ‘synbiotic’.
“There are actually more than 400 different species of bacteria living inside your large intestine, however not all are beneficial,” the Australian Healthy Food Guide reports.
“There is constant competition in our digestive system between good and bad bacteria and when the good guys outweigh the bad guys, you have a healthy gut.”
Prebiotics and little tummies
Melbourne dietician Melanie McGrice says that when it comes to little tummies, there are a number of ways to ensure a good level of prebiotics are in our toddler’s diet to encourage the good bacteria to thrive.
“All fruits and vegetables and grains are actually natural prebiotics,” Melanie says.
While artichokes, garlic, onions and leeks are really strong sources of prebiotics, Melanie says they are probably not the best choices for little tummies to start with. When it comes to formula, goat’s milk formula is an excellent choice as it naturally has six times the prebiotic oligos of cow’s milk.
She instead recommends the following foods as great sources of prebiotics:
- Goat’s milk or goat’s milk toddler formula
- Baked beans
- Wholemeal bread
(This is a sponsored post for Oli6)