The Art of Combining Prebiotics and Probiotics
Synbiotics are the best way to ensure a maximum benefit from the ingested probiotics. The term refers to the synergy created by getting both probiotics, and prebiotics to feed the human microbiome .
Although the term was coined for probiotic supplements, the art of eating fermented foods and soluble fibre is not new. The fermented foods are a source of probiotics, and the prebiotic foods are the source of soluble fibre, the preferred food for your probiotic bacteria.
Synbiotic Foods Pairing
Combining probiotics and prebiotics in foods to enhance the effect of the cultured foods, creates a synergy between the two elements, and the combination is called synbiotic. Although the term was coined for probiotic supplements, where the pill/capsule was supplemented with prebiotic fibre, (most commonly used is inulin), the use of probiotic synergistic food combination is less expensive, healthier, and in many cases even more effective.
The following list is not exhaustive, and you can use your imagination and test your own pairings. Some foods make sense in theory, but they don’t blend well gastronomically. If you are one of those people who eats anything, the taste and smell combination will not deter you from making the weirdest combination,.
Alongside is a table giving you some ideas of a few synbiotic food combinations to start with. You can always formulate your own, by starting with the list of probiotic foods and prebiotic foods. REMEMBER, pickles should ALWAYS be in brine and NOT vinegar.
Synbiotic Therapy – Scientific Evidence
We can’t promise that pairing foods rich in dietary fibre and fermented foods will improve your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, or reduce your Ulcerative Colitis, but it just makes sense that if this works with supplements, to work with foods as well.
There is scientific evidence that using synbiotic blends of prebiotics and probiotics in a supplement will improve the symptoms. Here is one study about synbiotic therapy (link is external). This study shows that combining bifidobacterium longum with inulin and oligofructose prebiotics can reduce the chronic inflammation in cases of ulcerative colitis.
The research showed that combining fructooligosaccharides, (FOS), with bifidobacterium lactis, increased the growth of the colony considerably, and compared to other probiotics, bifidobacterium lactis was the bacteria that benefited the most from feeding on FOS.
Oligofructose stimulates calcium absorption according to this article on nutrition.org (link is external), the mechanism is explained by the increase in the microbial gut flora, and the fermentation of the FOS in the intestinal area. This fermentation decreases the PH, and in a more acidic environment the calcium absorption increases.