First, let’s start out with a quick story: It’s 8 pm on a Friday night, we were out for a family dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. By 8:40pm, our daughter was doubled over in pain after eating her dinner. We left the restaurant concerned and confused so we drove to Kaiser Permanente Emergency room; her pain was that serious. They ran test for hours only to transfer us to the bigger Children’s Emergency Hospital facility for MORE testing.
8 hours and 2 hospitals later, they came to the conclusion our daughter needed pre AND probiotics. They sent us home with no prescription and just told us to buy some from a local Walmart or Walgreens. Like any good mother, I hopped on Google and down the rabbit hole I went into the wonderful world of gut health—so now let’s get into the benefits of prebiotics and probiotics, their differences, and how they can improve digestion.
By now most of us have heard of probiotics in some way, form or fashion. But if you’re like me, you hadn’t yet heard of PREbiotics.
Probiotics are the live microorganisms (bacteria) that live inside of our digestive tracts and fermented foods. According to Dr. Axe, prebiotics are natural occurring carbs and fiber compounds that FEED and HELP BOOST the potency of the probiotics. They are believed to control our health and well being. From digesting fiber and unbreakable foods, helping heal IBS (both variations), to one of the key factors in weight loss. Age, genetics and diet determines your good to bad bacteria ratio in your body, however most diets don’t contain enough good bacteria to ensure a healthier body! Kombucha (aka “Tea of Immortality”) is a reputable probiotic that can really benefit digestion, immune system, and overall health.
“The Tea of Immortality” vs “The Milk of The Gods”; hilarious right? What are these drinks and are they just some millennial generation fad that hipsters created? How much truth is behind their promises for a healthier body and longer life span?
According to recent studies, both of these drinks have been around for centuries in other countries. Kombucha first records in history date back to 220 BC of the Qin Dynasty in China. It is a tea fermented with sugar and a bacteria culture often called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). According to ancient legends, it was brought on the battlefields to give soldiers boosts of energy and healing properties, however according to recent studies it improves liver functioning, digestive health, and aids in metabolic speeds.
DID YOU KNOW? Kefir is known as “milk from the Gods”, when in reality it is simply fermented milk! Once it ferments, the lactose undergoes chemical changes and becomes lactic acid which is chalk full of bacteria that is essential for gut health!
It also has been around for centuries, but derives from the Caucasus Mountains. People discovered once their milk turned sour, it became sweeter to drink and easier to digest, including those who were lactose intolerant. Science boasts that Kefir is a great probiotic source containing over 30 strands of bacteria. It’s benefits include immune booster, enriched an strengthens bones, heals skin (acne fighter), and also aids in IBS as well!
Both drinks have AMAZING benefits, but only Kefir is considered a probiotic, while Kombucha is a simply digestive aid. For my daughter and her newly discovered GI issues, we keep her balanced with a dose of Kombucha as well as a children’s pre and probiotic supplement every day. The result? No more hospital visits! Better digestion and energy! You can purchase premade Kombucha or Kefir from almost any grocery store nowadays or make your own! There are tons of recipes all over the internet. Because of my hectic schedule, I do prefer purchasing instead of fermenting my own. Happy digesting!
Get our weekly newsletter for the fitness pulse in Atlanta.