Prebiotics and probiotics are easily confused but offer distinct digestive health benefits. Probiotics are good bacteria that fight off harmful bacteria in the gut and help establish a healthy microbiome. Probiotics are found in foods such as yogurt and specialty beverages, including “gut shots” and kombucha.
Prebiotics are dietary fibers often found in grains, vegetables and fruits that cannot be broken down by enzymes in the digestive system. These nondigestible carbohydrates act as fuel for good bacteria in the gut, including probiotics, and optimize their growth and functions.
To develop a successful gut health regimen, it is vital to include both probiotics and prebiotics. Consuming only probiotics without prebiotics is like planting seeds on a desert plain instead of fertile soil.
As consumer awareness of prebiotics' role in the microbiome grows, beverage manufacturers should consider new ways to market teas with fiber benefits. Existing teas with fiber already in the marketplace are often promoted as having laxative or detoxifying benefits. These "Skinny Teas" or "Smooth Move" teas generally use psyllium husks as their fiber source, which can have prebiotic benefits—but when not taken properly, also can cause severe gastrointestinal (GI) distress, including bloating or loose stools.
A new generation of fiber-rich teas specifically developed with prebiotic benefits is now rolling out—minus the potential for digestive distress.
To read this article in its entirety, check out A new kind of brew: Innovations in coffee and tea – digital magazine.
As a registered dietitian, Hannah Ackermann uses her expertise in food and nutrition to help Comet Bio educate consumers and tell its ingredient story. Prior to joining the company, Ackermann worked in nutrition communications at leading global market research and public relations firms. She holds bachelor’s degrees in nutritional science and journalism from Indiana University, Bloomington, and an MBA in marketing from Dominican University, Chicago.