Probiotics, prebiotics and Antibiotics

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to combat cases of bacterial infection. As the name already indicates it is anti ‘biotics’ and will kill of bacteria, the bad ones AND the good ones. Antibacterial creams and lotions are used for the same reason; to kill of bacteria on your skin. However, since the skin is your largest organ and will absorb chemicals and toxins, this too will end up inside of your body.

At the same time that the prescription of antibiotics are soaring and the sales of anything antibacterial sells well, we hear a lot about probiotics and prebiotics. But what is the difference and where do I find them in my food?

The billions of bacteria in our body that can weigh up to 2-3 kilo’s, will in a healthy person, help digest food and are an important part of the immune system. It is important that we look after these bacteria and feed them the right foods. Prebiotics is the food you feed your bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are not bacteria but they are non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system and help good bacteria grow and flourish. You can say they are the fertilizer for productive bacterial growth, feeding probiotic bacteria and that way help them grow. Examples of prebiotic foods are: asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, beans and legumes, artichokes leeks and root vegetables.

Probiotics are found in anything which is cultured. Miso, for example, which is a fermented soybeans paste and has over 160 different strains of aerobic bacteria, most of them are capable of fighting of e-coli. Miso is usually eaten as a soup. Kimchi, are fermented vegetables and also contain many protective bacteria same as sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage. Also cultured dairy products, like yoghurt, buttermilk and cottage cheese are very good sources of healthy bacteria. Choosing a good quality yoghurt, pick the one which is set in the pot, and has enough CFU (colony forming units) of good bacteria, or ‘probiotics’ in your yoghurt. To benefit from the yoghurt, you need at least 1 billion of CFU per day.

Probiotics and prebiotics work together synergistically and are imperative for our health. So if you are prescribed a round of antibiotics, make sure you take a good quality supplement since a lot of good bacteria are destroyed as well. . You can ask your local health food store for a good brand and make sure create the right environment for your supplement by eating the right foods.

Making your own sauerkraut
Making your own sauerkraut is easy, especially if you make use of a kitchen machine… I used to shred my fresh organic cabbage, then added salt and pound it with a wooden spoon for what seemed hours, to get the liquid out… on a lazy afternoon I threw half a cabbage into my kitchen machine with 2 teaspoons of sea salt, and within 20 seconds, the liquid appeared. It does not have the small shreds, but I can live with that. I put it in a jar, pushed down the cabbage so the liquid is on top and stored it cool. After 3 days you can start eating it![/wr_text][wr_image el_title=”banana” image_file=”” image_size=”medium” link_type=”no_link” image_container_style=”no-styling” image_alignment=”inherit” appearing_animation=”0″ disabled_el=”no” ][/wr_image][/wr_column][/wr_row]