8 Oct, 2020 06:00 PM
It’s important to include prebiotics and probiotics in your diet. Photo / Getty Images
It’s hard to keep up with ever-changing diet trends and the confusing terminology that goes along with them – what’s the difference between prebiotic and probiotic anyway?
Well, according to nutritionist Danijela Unkovich, the two “work hand-in-hand” – and it’s important to know the difference when it comes to improving your gut health.
“Prebiotics are types of fibres, and probiotics are the good bugs in your body that give probiotics the food they like to eat – they’re extremely important in maintaining a healthy digestive system,” she explains.
“In short, probiotic foods contain live bacteria that build up to create an ecosystem supporting good health.
“We need to look after our gut health by getting enough dietary fibre – 30g or more a day.”
But the nutritionist adds that gut health is holistic and it’s important to exercise as well as looking after our diet for better overall health.
We’ve all heard the saying “You are what you eat”, but Unkovich says it’s not quite that simple.
“You’re not necessarily what you eat – but what’s absorbed and digested by the body the best,” she explains.
And as we’ve probably all experienced this year, stress can have an impact on our digestive systems, Unkovich says.
“It can give us butterflies in our stomach or cause us to lose our appetite.
“So it’s important to keep a balance of good bugs and a diverse diet including plenty of plant foods.”
As we head into summer, which is always a more active season but also tends to bring unhealthy foods, Unkovich says it’s important to maintain your gut health.
“You’re allowed to be flexible with your diet, but do have a basic structure of healthy foods,” she advises.
The prebiotic trend continues to grow, as consumers look to incorporate these goodies more easily into their diets.
So much so, that Vogels has released New Zealand’s first prebiotic loaf of bread.
So if you like the sound of prebiotics but don’t know where to find them, why not start with a humble slice of toast?
Vogel’s is releasing Vogel’s Digestive Wellbeing loaf in Original and in Super Seeds flavours.
Unkovich says she’s “excited to see them make a loaf with a nutritional focus” as prebiotics look set to become a trend in coming years.
“I like waking up in the morning and going for grainy toast, usually with eggs and avocado and a squeeze of lemon,” she says.
“Toast is a lovely accessible food and a good way to eat other foods on top of it. Fibre keeps us regular and it’s a good option when so much of our diet comes from processed foods.”
A prebiotic-friendly lunch and dinner should include a few handfuls of veg, carbs, and proteins like salmon, chicken, chickpeas or beans, she says.
“My favourite food is chocolate so it’s all about a balanced approach to diet.”
Vogel’s brand manager Alina Varoy says Kiwi consumers are becoming more and more influenced by “functional nutrition”.
“Vogel’s has always been progressive in that way by focusing on how to best incorporate natural ingredients,” Varoy stated.