The health benefits of probiotics are endless, and some of them might surprise you. That’s why educating employees about how to incorporate probiotic-rich foods or supplements into daily meal plans promotes health and wellness at the workplace. Get the word out among employees to maximize the chance they’ll incorporate pre- and probiotics into day-to-day routines.
What Are Prebiotics and Probiotics?
You’ve probably heard about probiotics. They are the “good” bacteria in your body that help maximize digestive function and provide many other health-related benefits. Foods containing probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, cultured non-dairy yogurts, and some aged cheeses. Probiotics are also available in supplement form.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food components that aren’t digestible but appear to help promote the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in your digestive tract. Galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides and inulin are examples. A variety of healthy foods like onions, leeks, garlic, artichokes, asparagus, bananas, whole wheat and soybeans are sources of prebiotics. Supplements containing prebiotics, or combinations of pre- and probiotics, are also available.
Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics appear to provide a variety of health-related benefits for you and your employees. These may include improvements in diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, urinary tract infections, yeast infections and imbalances of vaginal bacteria, according to Harvard Health Publications. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says probiotics may also prevent allergy symptoms, boost immunity and reduce symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
As if those perks weren’t enough, a 2016 review published in Tropical Life Sciences Research says probiotics may help alleviate postmenopausal symptoms, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent cavities and gum infections, as well as help to reduce depression, stress and anxiety.
Health Benefits of Prebiotics
Because prebiotics promote the growth of probiotics, they can indirectly lead to the same health and wellness benefits as probiotics, as the two work in tandem. A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients found that prebiotics and probiotics can help improve (or reduce your risk for) type 2 diabetes and heart disease by stimulating insulin signaling within the body and lowering cholesterol.
Why Spread the Word?
If you want employees to reap the health and wellness benefits of probiotics, spread the word in the workplace through a variety of methods. Examples include health and wellness classes, individual or group health coaching sessions, fliers, email blasts, or a company-wide newsletter.
Getting the word out about beneficial effects of foods and supplements rich in probiotics may, over time, improve employee health, boost workplace productivity, lower sickness-related absences and improve employee overall well-being.