Tag: Take

Probiotics or Prebiotics: Which Ones Should You Take?

Just when you get a handle on all of the health and wellness trends out there, some new concept comes along that brings you back to square one. So you’re probably familiar with probiotics—you’re trying to eat the right gut-healthy foods or taking supplements that contain friendly gut bacteria—but a relatively new product with a similar name may have you all confused.

That’d be prebiotics. Wait, is that just a misspelling of probiotics? Or are prebiotics some kind of wellness snake oil sold by companies who want to ride the coattails of legit probiotics?

And—hold the phone—now there’s buzz about postbiotics?! With all the similar yet different terms swirling around, it’s time to clear up the confusion around what distinguishes each.

What Are Probiotics?

To really understand probiotics’ role in your health, let’s start with a quick refresher of how they work in your digestive tract. Your large intestine (and, to a much lesser extent, your small intestine) is home to an enormous population of bacterial microbes—more than 100 trillion of them.

These trillions of itty-bitty gut bugs have a major impact on your well-being, as a diverse colony of “good” bacteria promotes healthy digestion, while “bad” bacterial strains can cause digestive distress.

But it’s not just smooth bathroom business that makes a thriving intestinal colony so desirable. The microbiome (a term for the sum total of bacteria inhabiting your body) has lately become one of science’s hottest topics, with research linking healthy gut microbes to reduced risks of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and even depression.

With all that’s on the line, it’s not shocking that consuming probiotics is becoming the norm. These positive strains of bacteria exist naturally in fermented foods, so you can consume them by eating yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, or tempeh. They can also be encapsulated in pills that deliver a massive dose in one shot—a.k.a. the over-the-counter products most of us think of when we talk about taking probiotics.

So, What Are Prebiotics?

As researchers uncover deeper insights into how probiotics operate, they’ve discovered that there’s more we can do beyond inserting good bacteria into our systems via food or pills.

For probiotics to work most effectively, it’s important to provide them with the best possible environment. (Don’t you want the little buggers to feel right at home in your colon?) That’s where prebiotics come into play.

In the simplest terms, prebiotics are food for probiotics. Your good gut bugs need something to feed on while they’re hanging around your nether regions, and that something is “prebiotic” fiber. This fiber is hardy enough to survive the first several stops along the digestive process (the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine) and make it to the end of the line (the colon), where probiotics live. Therefore, prebiotic fibers are the so-called “non-digestible” varieties: oligosaccharides, inulin, and fructooligosaccharides.

But you don’t need to memorize that mouthful of nutrition-science vocabulary. Instead, remember that plant-based, high-fiber foods—such as vegetables, fruits, grains, and roots—are good sources of prebiotics. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, and whole wheat make some of the best choices.

And What About Postbiotics?!

And now a word about the last type of biotics. Postbiotics, as their name implies, have to do with what happens after digestion. As bacteria “digest” the fibers in your GI tract, this activity produces metabolic compounds. Though in the past, researchers thought of these postbiotics merely as waste byproducts, there’s rising interest in their potential as a medical therapy for inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and enterocolitis.

As the research is currently in its infancy, you won’t see postbiotics sold next to prebiotics and probiotics as dietary supplements any time soon. But in a world where nearly anything can be distilled and put in a pill (even fecal transplants!), it’s possible that postbiotic pills will eventually hit the market.

Which Ones Should You Take?

With our biotic terms defined, the question remains: Which of them should you take, and how? If good bacteria benefit us so much, a billions-strong, over-the-counter probiotic supplement may seem like an obvious choice. But as with most health information, it’s not so cut and dry. Two recent studies have raised serious questions around whether probiotic pills actually do what they’re purported to.

In one of the studies, many subjects’ digestive tracts resisted being colonized by probiotic supplements. In the other, taking probiotics to “bounce back” after antibiotics actually proved counterproductive, as doing so made gut flora take longer to return to its “normal” state.

So are probiotics are a bust? What are we to do if we want that all-important healthy gut? “For a generally healthy person, I’d always recommend food first,” says Ali Webster, Ph.D., RD, associate director of nutrition communications with the International Food Information Council Foundation.

“Probiotic supplements have shown benefits only for very specific conditions, like antibiotic-related diarrhea, C. difficile infection, and necrotizing enterocolitis in infants. For other conditions, the evidence isn’t there.” Webster points out that probiotic-rich foods also have “a lot of other beneficial compounds” you won’t get in just a pill, like protein and calcium in yogurt and kefir, or vitamin C in sauerkraut.

As for prebiotics, you don’t necessarily need a pill to keep enough of them in your system, either. And prebiotic-containing foods also boast plenty of important nutrients of their own, so Webster recommends getting them through food as well. However, if your diet doesn’t include many fruits, veggies, or whole grains, or poses certain macronutrient restrictions—(we’re looking at you, keto)—it may be wise to add a prebiotic supplement.

Finally, as with all supplements, if at all possible, talk to a registered dietitian or other health care providers before starting a pre- or probiotic, especially if you have any specific health condition(s), Webster says.

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Take a #CelluliteSaturday Photo Because Those “Cottage Cheese Thighs” Are Totally Normal

There are a lot of selfies on Instagram, usually pics from a day you were really feeling it. But how about selfies of the parts we usually try to cover up? Well, now we’ve got #CelluliteSaturday.

Canadian body-positive activist Kenzie Brenna started the hashtag to remind us that cellulite is normal—and really common. About 90 percent of women (and 10 percent of men) have cellulite. It’s mostly genetic, and it affects people of all shapes and sizes. So you should get used to seeing it (even if you don’t want to post your own #CelluliteSaturday pic). But if you do, you can look to Brenna for some inspiration:

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31 Potluck Recipes That Will Blow Guests’ Minds (and Only Take You 15 Minutes)

Problem: You’ve signed yourself up for a potluck get-together but your cooking expertise extends to boiling eggs and slapping together PB&Js. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re pretty confident you can do more. And it’s much easier and way less time-consuming than you think.

Solution: This roundup.

You could be a total novice in the kitchen or an amateur chef extraordinaire, but either way, there’s no need to stress over what you’re bringing to a gathering with these healthy, crowd-pleasing ideas. Whether you’re in charge of an appetizer, entrée, or a dessert, we’ve got you covered. Here are 31 recipes that each take only 15 minutes to make (from start to finish) and are guaranteed hits at any party. Your friends are already drooling.


1. Skinny Beet Dip

Photo: Spinach 4 Breakfast

Ain’t nobody got time to steam raw beets, but don’t let that stop you from eating them. Pick up the super-convenient precooked beets at the store to whip up with tahini for this scene-stealing, ready-for-its-close-up dip.

2. Rainbow Guacamole Dip

Photo: Simple Vegan Blog

Regular guacamole is addictive enough, but throw in crunchy bell peppers, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a fiery red chili for a guac that’s off-the-chain good. Make a double batch of this 10-minute recipe—it’ll go fast.

3. Spicy Mexican Hummus

Photo: Veganosity

The unmistakable kick of jalapeño and a dash of cumin give regular hummus some south-of-the-border flavor, while a little tomato helps mellow things out. Serve this one with tortilla chips or pita bread—both go perfectly.

4. Garlic Feta Dip

Photo: Well Plated

Garlic and cheese: The match made in (stinky) heaven gets even more out-of-this-world good thanks to healthier swaps like Greek yogurt and light cream cheese, plus a sprinkling of mixed herbs. It’s like a cheese plate in dip form, and you seriously can’t go wrong.

5. Broccoli Pesto Dip

Photo: A Healthy Life Forr Me

Pesto isn’t just for pasta; it’s fantastic as a dip too. Plus, if you’re dunking carrot sticks into a bowl of this broccoli-based version, you’re getting in a serving of veggies without even trying.

6. Buffalo Chicken Dip

Photo: The Garlic Diaries

Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese go halfsies to lighten up this party favorite. Packed with shredded chicken and served with veggie sticks, it’s a sneaky yet delicious way to get in a generous dose of protein.

7. Easy Walnut and Lentil Dip

Photo: The Cook's Pyjamas

It’s hard to believe that a dip this creamy has no dairy in it whatsoever, but the walnuts and lentil combination can be pretty amazing that way. Packed with healthy fats and fiber, a few scoops of this will keep you full and happy—just make sure you leave room for the main course.

Veggie & Protein Salads

8. Kale and Carrot Salad With Chili Lime Peanut Dressing

Photo: Chef De Home

Weary of kale? Drench it in a peanut-based dressing and watch your worries fade away. There is so much flavor going on here, from the nut butter and sesame oil; don’t be surprised if this salad outshines your main meal.

9. Raw Radish and Corn Salad

Photo: Veggie Inspired Journey

Fresh corn works best for this simple, six-ingredient salad. The sweet kernels are paired with tangy cumin and lime for a fun combination of flavors, and sliced radishes add some extra crunch. With no cooking, fancy equipment, or long prep time required, it’s perfect for your next potluck.

10. Tropical Chickpea Salad

Photo: Veggies Save the Day

This salad gets its tropical twist from the cubed mango, which goes surprisingly well with the savory flavors of avocado, chickpeas, and cumin. A one-step recipe that makes a large batch and keeps well for days, this salad is ideal for potlucks.

11. Avocado Dill Tuna Salad

Photo: Little Bits Of

Mayo haters, unite! Avocado, the reliable swap for mayonnaise, gives this tuna salad a heart-healthy upgrade without sacrificing taste. With cucumbers and pickles thrown into the mix too, eating “green” was never so easy.

12. Crunchy Sesame Chicken Slaw

Photo: The Honour System

Pick up a bag of shredded cabbage to make this chicken salad easier to put together. Dressed in olive oil, vinegar, and coconut sugar and a handful of almond slivers, it may not be your regular mayo-laden slaw, but it also might just become your favorite.

13. Deviled Egg Salad

Photo: Simply Recipes

Sometimes you just need a good ol’ classic, and this one sure delivers. It’s got all the traditional ingredients, from the celery to the Dijon mustard and even the mayo—though slightly less of it than what you’d find in conventional recipes. Consider your craving satisfied.

14. Hot Shrimp, Corn, and Basil Salad

Photo: Heather Christo

A simple basil, corn, and tomato salad gets an extra punch of protein from seared shrimp. With so many colors, nutrients, and textures in one serving, it can be served as a main dish just as easily as it can be a side.

15. Healthy Edamame Salad

Photo: Stuck on Sweet

Even if you count the cooking time for the edamame, this recipe comes together in five minutes flat! If that’s not enough reason to make this salad, you can get excited about the fact that between the beans, the juicy cranberries, and the salty bite of feta, it’s a fantastic coming-together of tastes.

Pastas & Grains

16. Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

Photo: A Simple Pantry

Not your regular bread salad, this one adds a fruity touch with chopped peaches that were heated up on the grill (so they’re even sweeter). The bowl of baguette chunks is then topped with almonds and goat cheese—it’s like a deconstructed, jazzed-up panini.

17. Summer Orzo Salad With Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta

Photo: Healthy Recipe Ecstasy

Thanks to its rice-like shape, easily scoopable orzo makes a perfect pasta option for big gatherings, especially in this vegetarian recipe. Joined by crumbled feta, tomatoes, and asparagus, the mixture is lightly dressed in olive oil and lemon for a fuss-free but filling main dish.

18. Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

Photo: Simply Quinoa

It looks like a simple quinoa salad, but a closer look at the ingredients reveals a much more exciting dish, thanks to the sweet and tangy peanut butter dressing coating the veggies and the grains. Ready in just 10 minutes, it’s a speedy way to put something special together.

19. Greek Yogurt BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Photo: Once Upon a Cutting Board

With just a tablespoon of brown sugar and a fraction of the barbeque sauce, this recipe is the perfect example of making a dish healthier without sacrificing flavor. Just note that while it takes 15 minutes to make, you may need to allot some extra time to get it to room temperature for serving.

20. Minted Watermelon Salad With Bulgur

Photo: Foolproof Living

Not familiar with bulgur? Here’s a good place to start. The quick-cooking, fiber-packed grain gets an unlikely but delicious companion in watermelon in this salad. It’s also drizzled with a honey-kissed olive oil dressing to further highlight that sweet and savory combination.

21. “Caprese” Quinoa Salad

Photo: Simply Quinoa

The typical mozzarella and tomato appetizer gets veganized here, with chickpeas standing in for the balls of cheese. It also gets some carbohydrates from the quinoa to bump it up to entrée status—but don’t worry, the basil and olive oil drizzle keep that unmistakable caprese flavor.

22. Israeli Couscous Salad With Salmon

Photo: Two of a Kind Cooks

Given that couscous takes as long as pasta to prep, it’s just as quick and convenient a potluck option. In the time it takes to cook the grains, grill up your salmon and prep your veggies. When the couscous is ready, just toss everything together and you’re done.

23. Nectarine, Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Photo: Power Hungry

You do need to have precooked quinoa and leftover chicken for this dish to come together within the 15-minute window, but don’t let that take away from how easy the recipe is to make. Plus, there’s so much to love here: From the nectarines to the goat cheese, you’ll forget it’s a gluten-free dish.

24. Tuna White Bean Pasta Salad

Photo: Simple Living and Eating

This one-dish meal is the epitome of the Mediterranean food pyramid, packed with fish, olive oil, beans, herbs, and spinach. If the studies about the happiness benefits of this diet are true, your mood is bound to get boosted after a few servings.


25. Coconut No-Bake Cookies

Photo: Minimalist Baker

The nut butter in these treats make them taste kind of like Peanut Butter Patties, while the cocoa and coconut give them that Samoa vibe. Two Girl Scout cookie flavors in one with a healthified bite? Sign us up.

26. Peanut Butter Banana No-Bake Energy Bites

Photo: The Cookie Rookie

Just as perfect for a pre-workout snack as they are for a potluck gathering, these versatile, oat-based bites are a wholesome way to approach dessert. They make two dozen in just 10 minutes too—such an easy way to satisfy a crowd.

27. Honey Basil Fruit Salad

Photo: With Salt and Wit

End your potluck on a fruity note with this simple salad topped with a light basil and honey dressing, which takes it from a plain bowl of berries to a dessert-worthy dish. It’s a perfect way to still get in a sweet ending after an indulgent meal.

Who needs 15 minutes when all it takes is two to whip up something this good? Between the lightning-fast prep time, the ingredient list of just three items, and the insanely delicious end result, we don’t know where to begin raving about this recipe.

29. Snickerdoodle Dip

Photo: Chocolate Covered Katie

Dip for dessert? Why not! Especially when it’s cookie-flavored. This recipe may start with chickpeas, but once you add nut butter, applesauce, and cinnamon, you’ll forget that this batter-like blend has a bean-base.

30. Healthy No-Bake Brownie Bites

Photo: Making Thyme for Health

If you believe that no meal is complete without chocolate but you don’t want to send your entire party into a sugar coma, this is your recipe. Dates are the secret naturally sweet ingredient behind these butter- and egg-free brownie balls, with cocoa and chocolate chips in each bite. Healthy dessert success.

31. Coconut Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Photo: The Bewitchin' Kitchen

Hollowed strawberries are the ideal vehicles for these bite-size cheesecakes. Not only do they look adorable, but the fresh, juicy berries are also a perfect complement to the denser cream cheese filling.

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