You may have heard these buzzwords in the media lately – what is it and why do you want it? “Functional foods” – or foods that have a functional effect on our health is the category that probiotics and prebiotics fall in. Both probiotics and prebiotics have a positive effect on the good bacteria that reside in our digestive system. This good bacteria is essential in maintaining a healthy digestive system. A probiotic is defined as: “A preparation or product containing viable, defined micro-organisms in sufficient numbers, which alter the microflora of the host intestine and, by that, exert beneficial health effects on the host” (Schrezenmeier & DeVerse 2001) – In other words, good bacteria that helps the digestive system work properly. There are ofcourse a number of ways we can get probiotics – through yoghurt, supplements or specially formulated probiotic drinks.
The second part of favourable foods are prebiotics. These are foods that help increase the amount of good bacteria in our system – they help the digestive system as well as the immune system by increasing microflora levels.
The good news for tea drinkers is that one form of taking in prebiotis is through the antioxidants present in tea! So keep drinking – it’s ALL GOOD!