Not probiotic, PREbiotic - FamilyEducation

Not probiotic, PREbiotic

April 09,2009
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

In my continued curiosity about healthful foods, including probiotics, SPH shared with me an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal about prebiotic foods. Back in January, I reviewed an article, also from the Wall Street Journal which outlined what to look for when searching for probiotic food and supplements. Why all my interest? Well, poor G has had a long string on antibiotics in his system due to an ongoing battle to keep his ears healthy. While R has had next to no ear infections, G is following in his mom and dad’s footsteps and appears headed down the path to tubes for his ears. While we have been trying to keep the infections at bay, he’s had a number of antibiotic regimens, some of which have done a real number on his system. Probiotics to the rescue! You cannot imagine the world of difference probiotics can make in keeping G’s system healthy. Once I did more research, I realized that a large portion of our immune system is also located in our gastro-intestinal track, so the theory is that probiotics could possibly help boost our immune systems as well. But prebiotics? That’s a new one to me… According to the Wall Street Journal article, prebiotics serve as a food for any probiotics you ingest. To quote the article: "A prebiotic is to your colon what grass food is to your lawn. It feeds the grass, but not the weeds," says University of Nebraska microbiologist Bob Hutkins. What was most interesting to me about this article is that prebiotics can also be found naturally in foods that many of us eat every day. If you want to potentially help boost your health without searching out or paying for custom foods, just try eating something with garlic or onions, wheat or oats or vegetables like leeks, asparagus or Jerusalem artichokes. There’s probably a “prebiotic foods” recipe I could be developing… SPC