Prebiotics vs Probiotics: What you should know
Our gut is full of helpful bacteria and other microorganisms that maintain our overall health. They help digest the food we eat, manage our immune system, and even influence our moods and mental health. These “friendly” microorganisms are called probiotics.
Prebiotics are the food that probiotics feed on. Without a healthy intake of prebiotics, the probiotics in our gut would not be able to grow and perform their many beneficial functions. When this happens, there are ramifications throughout our entire body. Immunity, digestion, skin health, brain function, mood, and weight gain are all influenced by our gut health.
And it all starts with prebiotics.
What are prebiotics, exactly?
Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber compounds found in certain plant-based foods. Once these nutrients make it into your gut, they act as fertilizer for probiotics to grow and function properly. In other words, they encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut and promote a healthy microbiome. This, in turn, improves your overall health.
Prebiotics vs Probiotics
What they are: Prebiotics are non-living fiber compounds that serve as fuel for the probiotics in our gut.
How to get it: Sources of prebiotics include: chicory root, leeks, garlic, dandelion greens, cacao and dark chocolate.
What they are: Probiotics are living bacteria and other microorganisms that take residence in our gut and help it function properly.
How to get it: Sources of probiotics include: yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso soup, kombucha, pickles.
Prebiotics and probiotics are both needed for a healthy microbiome.
Prebiotics and other functional benefits in Cacao Fruit Soda
Xoca is a sparkling prebiotic soda crafted with upcycled cacao fruit juice. In addition to prebiotics, it’s also rich with antioxidants, theobromine, and a wide array of healthy organic acids. This isn’t too surprising, considering the fact that cacao fruit is one of the healthiest and most antioxidant-rich foods on earth.
Here’s an abbreviated breakdown of what’s inside each can of Xoca:
Pectin: Naturally found in fruits, pectin is a soluble dietary fiber that binds to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and slows glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrates. In the large intestine and colon, microorganisms degrade pectin and liberate short-chain fatty acids that have a positive influence on health (prebiotic effect). Soluble fibers slow digestion, so it takes longer for the body to absorb sugar (glucose) from food. This helps prevent quick spikes in blood sugar levels -- an important part of managing diabetes. Soluble fibers also bind with fatty acids, flushing them out of the body and helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Theobromine: Found in chocolate, as well as several other foods, including the guayusa leaf and the kola nut. Theobromine has stimulant properties similar to caffeine but its effect is steadier and more user-friendly. Theobromine is also a diuretic and lowers blood pressure due to its ability to widen blood vessels. It can relax bronchial muscles in the lungs and is used as a cough suppressant. Studies indicate that theobromine acts on the vagus nerve, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.
Our cacao fruit soda has a veritable arsenal of healthy organic acids, with a wide array of functional benefits for the body.
Gluconic acid: Helps the liver detoxify the body. It binds with toxins in the liver and escorts them out of the body through the kidneys.
Citric acid: Ensures the proper functioning of the kidneys, fights free radicals that trigger the growth of cancerous tumors, improves mineral absorption in the body, helps clear throat infections, and curbs nausea.
Acetic acid: Helps the body absorb minerals and control and balance a number of critical systems, including blood glucose regulation and the cardiovascular system.
Lactic acid: Produced through the fermentation of simple sugars. Naturally preserves food, removes toxins and harmful bacteria, and promotes the growth of probiotics. It also improves digestion, especially when consumed before a meal.
Quinic acid: Used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Exhibits strong antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria that cause bladder infections.
Malic acid: Often used to boost sports performance when taken in supplement form. Promotes energy production, increases endurance, and helps fight off muscle fatigue.
The Bottom Line
Prebiotics provide fuel for probiotics. Prebiotics and probiotics, together, are the two key components of a healthy gut. And a healthy gut is critical for the overall health of the human body, including the immune system and mental health.
The best sources of prebiotics are plant-based foods high in fiber. Xoca’s cacao fruit soda is well-endowed with prebiotics, as well as theobromine, antioxidants, and a host of healthy organic acids.
Xoca’s mission is to upcycle the discarded components of the cacao fruit for the benefit of cacao farmers, the environment, and our customers.
The cacao fruit not only contains the seeds that become chocolate. It also contains numerous other components that are packed with energy and nutrition. However, most of these components are discarded during the production of chocolate.
We partner with cacao farmers in Ecuador to upcycle that sweet, nutritious fruit pulp and use it to create a sparkling prebiotic soda.
You can take a peek at our drinks here.