by Tracey Pollack
You already know the pros of probiotics found in yogurt and fermented foods, and how this good bacteria supports digestion and overall wellness. And you may have heard of prebiotics, which feed the needs of probiotics to help maintain a healthy gut. But the less popular than both the pre- and pro- in the family of “biotics” are known as postbiotics. It’s these postbiotics that are left behind after prebiotics and probiotics are digested. And it turns out that postbiotics may actually be what’s behind all of their health and wellness benefits! So get to know this up-and-coming biotic to see what postbiotics can do for you, where to find them, and how they work together with prebiotics and probiotics to keep your gut and body at their best.†
What are Postbiotics?
Over the years, probiotics and prebiotics have received much press and praise for the ways they may support a healthy gut, good digestion, a strong immune system, clear skin, and a positive mood. You may have thought there was nothing left to know about these miraculous microorganisms. But what’s left is what’s literally left over after the probiotics feed on the prebiotics. These by-products are called postbiotics. And according to research published in Trends in Food Science & Technology, many of the health-boosting benefits that have been attributed to probiotics and prebiotics may be due to postbiotics.
Are Postbiotics Better than Probiotics?
According to a 2021 study published in Biotics, postbiotics may be more powerful than probiotics and prebiotics in several ways, without any of the downsides of both.† See, probiotics and prebiotics don’t stay in your gut forever. Once they’re digested, it’s the postbiotics that remain and maintain the health of your gut, which contributes to the health of your body, mind and mood.† In addition, some people experience gas and bloating after consuming prebiotics or probiotics. But postbiotics cause less digestive discomfort because they are simply what’s left over after digestion has occurred, so the process that causes tummy troubles is skipped altogether.
Are Biotics Better Taken Together?
Yes, but only two can be taken together because one is the result! It’s easy to find sources of both prebiotics and probiotics in the supermarket or supplement aisle. Yet postbiotics are simply what’s left over after prebiotics and probiotics have been digested in your gut. So to get more of these postbiotic “leftovers,” you need to increase your intake of what came first, which were prebiotics and probiotics. Today, all three kinds of biotic supplements can be found in stores or online.
Which Foods are Postbiotics?
To find foods full of postbiotics, it makes sense to go to the source. Foods filled with prebiotics include bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, oats, rye, and whole-grain wheat. And probiotic foods to consume are plain yogurt, cultured cottage cheese, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, miso, and kombucha. By consuming a combination, your body will create the postbiotics that may have a long-term effect on your health and well-being.
With so much promise for postbiotics, go with your gut to keep yours healthy with the power of postbiotics.