Prebiotics vs Probiotics

You’ve probably heard the words prebitoic and probiotic thrown around recently. Both of these words became more mainstream as gut health found its rightful place in the health and wellness scene. That’s because prebiotics and probiotics are essential to good gut health, and good gut health is essential to overall health.

Loads of products contain pre- and probiotics:

  • Supplements and pills
  • Bananas 
  • Yogurt 
  • Sauerkraut
  • Some granola bars
  • Some new sodas

Because so many different items contain prebiotics and probiotics, it can be difficult to see the connection. I mean, what do granola bars and sauerkraut have in common?

In this article, we’ll learn the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, why they’re so important, and which one is most important to overall health. 

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are food for our good gut bacteria; they nourish the gut bacteria that already exist and help it not just grow, but thrive. 

Think of it this way: if our gut bacteria are “seeds,” prebiotics are the essential “water” that grows and nourishes those seeds, allowing them to become big, leafy plants and flowers. Read more here.

Prebiotics and Fiber 

Prebiotics are a form of soluble fiber, which is an indigestible fiber found in plants. Soluble fiber arrives to your colon intact and then begins to interact and ferment with your gut bacteria. This fermentation is crucial to your good gut bacteria because it allows them to eat and be nourished.  

Put simply: soluble fiber = a prebiotic = a gut bacteria feast

Where to Find Prebiotics

Prebiotic fiber is found in some foods you may already be eating:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas 
  • Oatmeal
  • And more!

If you’re having digestive issues or find it difficult to incorporate prebiotic foods into your diet (we get it, onions and garlic at every meal is stinky), I recommend finding the right supplement for you or trying out Mayawell’s delicious and healthy prebiotic soda.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria we introduce into our gut. These new bacteria join our existing gut bacteria and they live alongside each other, hopefully reaching some kind of a healthy balance. 

Probiotics can be particularly helpful if you’ve recently been on antibiotic medication. Antibiotics kill all bacteria in your body — both good and bad. This helps you recover from sickness, but it also means that your body needs to rebuild afterward. Taking probiotic supplements or eating probiotic-rich foods can help your body restore itself more quickly. 

Where to Find Probiotics

Probiotics, like prebiotics, are also found in many foods you may already be eating:

  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Some soft cheeses
  • Sourdough bread
  • Fermented items, such as pickles and kimchi

However, you can also consume probiotic supplements to give your gut a boost if you’re having digestive issues. 

Which One Is More Important?

We all have competing priorities, especially when it comes to health:

  • Exercise!
  • Eat veggies!
  • Meditate! 
  • More green juice!

That’s why it’s necessary to prioritize and ensure we’re practicing the most helpful behaviors, most of the time. Though both pre- and probiotics are helpful, I argue prebiotics are more helpful. 

Think of it this way: you can keep introducing new gut bacteria every day, but if you don’t feed them they’ll keep dying and you’ll need to keep introducing more. Your gut microbiome won’t become self-sustaining.

Let’s go back to our garden analogy:

  • Gut bacteria are the seeds
  • Prebiotics are the necessary water

We can then imagine probiotics are new seeds we’re planting. 

We can keep planting new seeds, which may sprout, but without regular water, those seeds will never flourish into big, beautiful plants. Yes, new seeds are important! But without water, we never see the benefits.

Easy Ways to Add Prebiotics to Your Diet

There are a few simple and effective ways to add prebiotics to your diet. Making these small changes can make a big impact on your overall health:

Start with Breakfast

Eat a breakfast high in soluble fiber, that way you won’t have to worry about fiber for the rest of the day. Check out this article for easy and delicious recipes, and try these tasty breakfast muffins high in prebiotic fiber.

Enhance Your Favorite Meals

Add prebiotic veggies to your favorite meals (even smoothies!). This will add an extra kick of fiber to the meals you already eat and enjoy.

Drink Your Prebiotics

Drink your prebiotics with Maywell’s healthy prebiotics sodas. With 20% of your daily value of fiber in each can, it’s the easiest and most delicious way to keep your gut health on track.

3 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut You Need to Watch Out For

Did you know the gut is called the second brain? That’s because the gut is incredibly closely linked to our brain and is a key part of our central nervous system. This also means gut problems usually come with other health problems.

In fact, poor gut health has been linked to several specific health issues. On the other hand, good gut health can strengthen your immune system, improve your mood, and prevent autoimmune diseases and some types of cancer.

There are many things that can negatively affect our gut health. But how do you know if your gut is healthy or not? What should you be watching for? Well, poor gut health can actually manifest in several ways. Here are a few signs you can watch out for that may point to an unhealthy gut. 

Digestive Issues

One of the most obvious signs of poor gut health are digestive issues: gas, bloating, and diarrhea. These digestive issues are usually a result of unbalanced or underfed gut bacteria.

The bacteria living in your gut, stomach, intestines, and colon are often called the microbiome. Both good and bad bacteria make up this microbiome — and that’s a good thing! When there is an imbalance in the microbiome (for example, too much bad gut bacteria and not enough good), the result may be gas, irregular bowel movements, or even diarrhea. To restore balance, it’s best to focus on your diet and add in prebiotics

Gas can also be a sign of food fermentation in the gut. This can happen when there is not enough stomach acid to break down food. To help, you can add digestive enzymes to your diet to boost stomach acid and help break down food.

Food Allergies or Intolerances

Dairy and gluten intolerances are more common today than ever before, and they are often symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the gut barrier is compromised and your gut actually kinda… leaks! A leaky gut is an unhealthy gut.

  • If your gut is healthy, it controls what passes through it and into your bloodstream.
  • If your gut is not healthy, other things like partially digested food, proteins, and toxins escape into your body.

As an example, consider someone with a gluten intolerance. If they have leaky gut, large protein molecules (such as gluten) escape from their digestive system and move into their bloodstream because the gut barrier is permeable. Since these large gluten protein molecules do not belong anywhere outside of the gut, the body creates an immune response to attack these proteins. This immune response manifests as a food intolerance, and it could look like bloating, a skin rash, inflammation — lots of things! 

Sugar Cravings

Our microbiome releases special proteins that are similar to leptin and ghrelin (our hunger-regulating hormones). These special proteins can affect our food cravings.

The food we eat feeds our gut bacteria. And so, it makes sense that our gut bacteria want us to eat the foods that help them thrive. If we get too much of certain bad gut bacteria, our sugar cravings can become intense. What’s the solution? Cutting out sugar won’t necessarily help, and that will result in a constant battle of willpower. What will help is taking prebiotic supplements or drinking them. This will help feed good gut bacteria, restore balance, and curb cravings.

Final Thoughts

Our microbiome contributes to our overall health. When it’s healthy, it can help strengthen our immune system and prevent certain diseases. However, your gut can also manifest a wide range of health issues if it’s unhealthy. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the signs of an unhealthy gut; then we can make adjustments in our diets and lifestyle.

Improve your gut health and microbiome with Mayawell. Mayawell is a healthy prebiotic drink made with organic, hand-harvested agave that nourishes 60% of existing good gut bacteria. This is a much larger percentage than many prebiotic foods, meaning you get more bang for your metaphorical buck in the world of gut health.

Easy, Healthy Breakfast Muffins for Gut Health

We all love a good weekend brunch: Eggs Benedict on a crispy english muffin, pancakes, mimosas. It’s not difficult to get out of bed to enjoy an elegant breakfast spread in the company of friends. However, breakfast Monday – Friday is a different story. Personally, I do not wake up early enough to prepare Eggs Benedict for me and my family, and then sit down to casually enjoy it before waltzing out of my home for my 9-5. If you do, I tip my metaphorical hat to you.

97% of Americans agree breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and many studies show the importance of eating breakfast, especially with children. Furthermore, kids who eat breakfast are shown to have higher test scores. However, even though 97% of Americans agree breakfast is important, only 44% of Americans actually consume breakfast. Those who don’t listed the main reasons why:

  • Too busy
  • Were hungry, but didn’t feel like eating
  • Weren’t hungry

Apart from being “too busy,” skipping breakfast has become more mainstream in the trendy world of health and wellness. Skipping is labeled “intermittent fasting” and is especially popular in the keto diet realm. Though there are benefits to intermittent fasting, there is little research on the long-term effects. Calorie-loading earlier in the day is thought to be more beneficial, as well, suggesting breakfast is not the meal to be skipped if someone is interested in fasting.  

Should you eat breakfast? 

There are conflicting reviews as to whether breakfast is a sign of superior health, but there are a few things we know to be pretty darn true:

  • It’s difficult to focus when you’re hungry and thinking about food. Skipping breakfast often means poorer mental performance. 
  • Making healthy food choices is challenging when you’re hungry. The office donuts are much more tempting if your stomach is empty.  
  • Eating a satiating meal in the morning means you won’t have to think about food until lunch, making you a more present employee/parent/etc. 

But all the scientific evidence in the world couldn’t get me to choke down a Soylent before work. The most important meal of the day isn’t necessarily breakfast — it’s the meal you enjoy. 

That’s why I’m sharing my Aunt Mary’s simple and healthy breakfast muffin recipe. The first time she made them, I ate about 5 every day until they were gone (they didn’t last long).

They’re quick to make, you can swap out ingredients depending on what’s in your pantry, and they’re perfect for on-the-go mornings. Additionally, they’re packed with everything you need to carry you through until lunch:

  • Whole grains for slow-digesting carbs
  • Healthy fats for satiation
  • Protein to support muscle-growth and brain health

The best thing about them? They’re delicious! My kids and I look forward to eating them every morning. 

Healthy Breakfast Muffin Recipe

This recipe has everything you need to keep your gut happy and healthy, too. The oatmeal, bananas, and fruit provide ample fiber to keep your good gut bacteria nourished. A happy gut means you’ll benefit from these muffins all day long:

  • Improved nutrient absorption
  • Better blood glucose regulation
  • Regular, pain-free bowel movements

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups oatmeal

1 cup oat flour (you can make your own my blending up oatmeal in a food processor, or sub for regular oatmeal)

1 ½ cups boiling water

1 cup maple syrup

½ cup coconut oil or nut butter

2 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup raisins or cherries

1 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

4 tsp cinnamon

Optional: two ripe bananas

Directions

  1. Prepare muffin tin with cooking spray or muffin cups. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Mix oatmeal, oat flour, boiling water, maple syrup, and coconut oil/nut butter together in a large bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes. 
  4. In a separate bowl, add eggs, pecans, raisins/cherries, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and bananas (optional). Mix until evenly combined, and add to other ingredients. 
  5. Mix until evenly combined.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until muffins are not wobbly in the center.

If you’re looking for the perfect on-the-go drink to pair with these muffins, I love Mayawell’s Pineapple Mango prebiotic soda. It has a touch of anti-inflammatory turmeric and 5g of prebiotic fiber to keep your gut on track. The pineapple paired with the banana in the muffin is [chef’s kiss]. 

Top Reasons Why You Should Add Prebiotics to Your Diet

New health fads and diets pop up every week. With too many “eat this, not that” recommendations, it’s hard to keep track of what’s fact and what’s a big marketing scheme trying to get your money.

One new health trend gaining popularity is prebiotics. Prebiotics are part of the gut health train many health nuts have jumped on. A few buzzwords and products you’ve likely heard of that relate to gut health:

However, prebiotics are legit! No health trend or marketing scheme here. Countless credible scientific studies prove that prebiotics improve your overall health. This is because prebiotics keep your gut healthy, and your gut is central to everything your body does. Your gut is even called the “second brain” because it’s so closely linked to your brain activity (the brain and the gut grow from the same tissue in the fetus!). 

This blog post will shed some light on what prebiotics are and why consuming them is a useful and a wise addition to any diet.

What are prebiotics?

First, it’s important to understand what prebiotics are. Prebiotics are food for the good bacteria found in your gut. To be more precise, prebiotics are plant fibers that your body is unable to digest. This is why they can travel, intact, all the way down through your intestines to your colon where your good gut bacteria reside. (Remember, your gut = everything from your mouth to your bum. It’s not just your stomach.)

Checkout this article to see a visual of how prebiotics work.

Consuming a notable amount of prebiotics on a regular basis will feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, ensuring they can grow and do their job well.

Benefits of Prebiotics

Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding prebiotics to your diet.

Keep Gastrointestinal Diseases at Bay

If the bacteria in your gut are given enough prebiotics, they will produce lactic acid, which will help you digest easier. This will help keep gastrointestinal diseases at bay, which are often exacerbated by stress (poor digestion) and inflammation.

Regulate Cholesterol Levels

Your gut helps promote “good” cholesterol and triglycerides, as shown by a recent study. This may help regulate the risk of some heart conditions.

Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease

Good bacteria that are well-fed will be able to help keep unwanted chronic diseases at bay. Aside from having improved brain, gut, and heart health, a person who consumes a healthy amount of prebiotics will be able to improve their chances of avoiding autoimmune disorders, dementia, depression, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. 

Improved Gut Health & Overall Health

Improved gut health is one of the most well-known benefits of a prebiotic-rich diet. The good bacteria in your gut will feast on the prebiotics and work double-time to ensure that your gut health is always at its best. 

Considering the fact that your gut is so central to everything your body does, it’s fair to say that in most cases, good gut health = good overall health.

When your gut is healthy, your entire body benefits:

  • Improved nutrient absorption
  • Reduced bloating
  • Regular, easy bowel movements
  • Increased mental clarity
  • And literally so much more

Prebiotics in Your Diet 

It is relatively easy to include specific foods into your diet to increase your intake of prebiotics. Many common foods you likely already have in your kitchen are excellent sources of gut-nourishing prebiotic fiber:

  • Garlic
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Oats
  • Apples

However, this is not a comprehensive list. Read more about prebiotic foods here.

Talking to your doctor or nutritionist may be a good idea, as well, if you want a detailed diet plan that prioritizes prebiotics.

Healthy Prebiotic Drinks

There are also some delicious drinks and beverages with a notable amount of fiber to keep your gut happy and healthy. Prebiotic beverages are more convenient than food, as well. Rather than worry about eating garlic at every meal, simply sip on something bubbly to get your fiber in.

If you are looking for a convenient drink loaded prebiotics, checkout Mayawell! Their specially formulated prebiotic soda is made with organic, hand-harvested agave so you can easily and deliciously get your daily dose of prebiotics:

Start sipping on your healthy prebiotic drink from Mayawell today so you can feel all the benefits of a happy, healthy gut. 

The Best High-Fiber Breakfast

9 out of 10 Americans don’t consume the recommended amount of daily fiber. Missing out on fiber means the gut is neglected and starved. We get it — everyone leads busy lives with competing priorities, and fiber intake isn’t very high on anyone’s list. 

Enter ✨Breakfast ✨ It’s the perfect opportunity to easily up your fiber intake so you can reap the rewards all day long.

Additionally, fiber is filling and will help keep you satisfied until lunch so you don’t have to worry about a growling stomach. 80% of Americans eat breakfast at home, as well, meaning we can choose anything from our cupboards. This means it’s easy to opt for a fiber-filled breakfast if we know what those look like.

Why have fiber in the morning

Fiber is the perfect centerpiece for your morning meal. It is essential to maintaining a healthy gut and keeping your body functioning properly. When we get enough daily fiber, a lot of good things can happen: 

  • Your good gut bacteria have enough to eat, so your gut stays healthy.
  • A healthy gut means you digest easily. This helps your body with nutrient intake and boosts metabolism. 
  • Your bowel movements normalize (healthy poops!).

But a bowl of Lucky Charms or waffles is often more tempting before 9 a.m. than, say, a bowl of baked beans or a tall glass of MiraLAX (yum). That’s why I’ve compiled my 3 favorite, delicious high-fiber breakfasts to get your day started off right and keep your morning poops on track. 

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the unsung hero of the breakfast table. It gets a bad rap for being mushy and boring, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder… or in this case, the spoon holder. Oatmeal is both nutritious and delicious if you prepare it right.

High fiber breakfast

Health benefits of oatmeal

  • Rich in antioxidants (antioxidants help reduce free radicals in the body)
  • 4g of beta-glucan fiber which helps regulate blood sugar
  • Contains necessary minerals such as phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium, and zinc 

But before work, you’re probably not worried about your thiamine intake (if you are, we salute you). What’s important here is that a serving of oatmeal contains:

  • A nourishing amount of readily available carbohydrates to fuel you
  • 5g of protein to help satiate you all morning
  • 4g of fiber to nourish your gut and help you feel full

Strawberry Ginger Cheesecake Overnight Oats Recipe

Don’t get me wrong, a classic bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon and honey is [chef’s kiss]. But mixing it up with new flavors keeps breakfast fun and encourages me to incorporate it into my morning routine. 

Make this fiber-filled breakfast oatmeal ahead of time to make your mornings that much more simple! 

Ingredients

¾ cup milk (any kind)

½ cup of yogurt (your choice! Greek, whole milk, vegan)

1 cup diced strawberries

1 cup rolled oats

Sprinkle of salt

½ – 1 tsp freshly grated ginger (depending on how much spice you like) 

¼ tsp ginger powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1-2 T maple syrup

Directions
  1. Blend milk, yogurt, and strawberries until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl or a mason jar.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Place in your fridge the night before.
  5. Enjoy in the morning!

Note: I like to add an extra drizzle of maple syrup or strawberry jam in the morning, if I’m feeling fancy (which I often am).

Another note: if you’re low on time, skip the blending! Throw all the ingredients into a bowl. It’s still delicious; it just has larger bits of strawberry.

High Fiber Smoothie

This smoothie is packed with nourishing goodness. Moreover, it’s delicious! It’s rich, satisfying, and perfectly sweet. The Mayawell prebiotic soda adds a small ginger kick, as well as 5g prebiotic fiber!

Avocado and cauliflower are my two favorite smoothie additions:

  • Avocado adds healthy fat
  • Cauliflower contains fiber and important nutrients such as Vitamins C and K
  • They both add a creamy, full, and delicious texture to smoothies

The chia, flax, and peas all add significant fiber and full texture to the smoothie:

  • 1 T chia seeds = 4g fiber
  • 1 T ground flax = 2g fiber
  • ½ cup frozen peas = 3g fiber
Ingredients

1 banana

½ cup berries (your choice! blue-, rasp-, or straw-)

1 small avocado (not too ripe)

1 cup cauliflower

½ cup frozen peas

1 T chia seeds or ground flax

½-full can Strawberry Ginger Mayawell (you can sub for water or your choice of milk)

2 T maple syrup or honey

Directions
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add more Mayawell for a more liquid smoothie, and vice versa (I like mine nice and thiccc)

 

Mayawell Prebiotic Soda

In a world that’s pro-diet and adheres to food rules (no carbs! no sugar! over-analyze!) it’s sometimes hard to choose what to eat. However, it’s important to listen to your body:

  • If it’s craving something salty, you may need sodium to help you retain water
  • If you’re craving potatoes, you may need some fast-burning fuel

So, what’s the best breakfast to start your day off right? The best breakfast is usually the breakfast you’ll eat, and enjoy eating. And sometimes, that breakfast does not include fiber. 

Mayawell prebiotic soda is an easy way to add 5g prebiotic fiber to any breakfast you want: steak and eggs, avocado toast, a bowl of cereal, or a granola bar. It comes in 4 delicious flavors and is the perfect, refreshing way to start a morning. Don’t sleep (in) on this easy and delicious way to pump up your breakfast.

High fiber breakfast option

Ginger’s Medicinal Properties and Other Health Benefits

If you’re a ginger-enthusiast like me, you’ll love learning about the amazing health benefits ginger offers. If you’re not, we’ll cover a few ways to incorporate ginger into your diet that actually taste good (like a healthy strawberry ginger soda! stay tuned…)

Ginger is delicious in savory stir fries, sweet traditional desserts, and even bubbly beverages. This super spice has a long list of wonderful health benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties to calming upset stomachs. Many cultures claim it — whether munched, pickled, crystallized, grated, or dipped in hot water. It’s also cited for its medicinal properties, as well as for resolving health ailments for centuries.  

If you’re a ginger lover, this will make you love it even more. Without further ado, here are some of the best benefits ginger has to offer.

Helps Relieve Nausea

Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting. This includes motion sickness, morning sickness, postoperative nausea, and travel-related sickness. Moreover, it’s all natural and (can be) completely organic, which is often more appealing than taking medication all the time. 

Coming from someone who gets motion-sickness from swings and rocking chairs, I know how important it is to plan ahead. I take these ginger chews on car rides, boat rides, and planes to help keep my stomach calm.

Reduces Arthritis Inflammation and Pain

Ginger helps improve rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other rheumatism. That includes muscle pain and muscle soreness caused by exercise. These benefits are credited to ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Aids in Digestion

Consuming ginger helps reduce bloating, flatulence, intestinal colic, poor digestion, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Ginger supports your body’s food digestion, as well as nutrient absorption and assimilation, by stimulating your body’s digestive acids and secretions.

This makes ginger a great addition before or after a meal to support your digestive processes.

Helps Combat Lung Disease and Infections

Ginger can help combat bronchitis and asthma due to its immune-boosting properties. This is because ginger can help remove excess mucus and reduce inflammation in the airways. For the same reason, ginger is often used as a natural decongestant and antihistamine. 

Helps Alleviate Gut Infections

Some animal studies show that ginger may inhibit H.pylori stomach infections. H.pylori is a bacteria that lives in your digestive tract that, if unmanaged, can lead to stomach cancer and gastric ulcers.

Research also shows that ginger helps reduce gum disease. I know—you thought we were talking about the gut! Well, the mouth is the very first part of the gut, so it’s incredibly important to have a healthy mouth. Gum disease is caused by bacteria buildup, so it makes sense that ginger helps because it’s an antibacterial.

Supports Blood Glucose Levels

Some studies show that ginger can effectively lower fasting blood sugar in people with diabetes and reduce Hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c is a blood sugar indicator regularly used by people with diabetes for monitoring purposes. 

Improve Blood Circulation and Prevent Cold Hands and Feet

Ginger is hyperthermic, meaning it triggers a warming of the body. This warming and circulatory response promotes blood circulation to the extremities and makes it a practical solution for helping cold hands and feet. It may even aid in Raynaud’s disease

Eases Period Cramps and Dysmenorrhea

Period cramps are sometimes linked to your body’s excessive production of prostaglandins, which helps contract the uterus to shed the lining during a period. Ginger may reduce prostaglandins and therefore help ease period cramps. It can also help with endometriosis thanks to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Strawberry Ginger Soda

Prevents Respiratory Infections

Ginger is an excellent support to the immune system. It’s also a great preventative measure against the common cold and other viral infections. In addition, it also reduces painful sore throats, nasal congestion, and coughs.

Has Anti-Cancer Properties

Gingerol is a compound found in ginger, and it’s what gives ginger such a refreshing spice! This compound, along with other compounds found in ginger, are shown to have protective properties against certain types of cancer, such as colorectal, liver, and prostate cancer. 

Eases Migraines

Migraines are terrible, especially if you experience them on a recurring basis. Consuming ginger can help reduce headaches and migraines thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. According to several animal studies, ginger also helps protect memory, support brain function, and reduce brain damage. 

Prevents Drug-Resistant Microbial Diseases 

Ginger, when mixed with garlic like in this delicious wellness shot, has an intense antibacterial effect that helps protect your body against pathogens (microorganisms that cause disease). This means it helps prevent sickness, including drug-resistant diseases. Prevention of these diseases is especially helpful because these diseases are drug resistant and therefore harder to treat. 

Conclusion

This super spice is prevalent in cultures all over the world: in curries, stews, sweets, cookies, pressed juices, and more—and no wonder! It’s health benefits make it a no-brainer to include in any healthful diet.

To help you get your daily dose of ginger, here are a few fun ways to incorporate it into your daily routine: 

  1. Ginger herbal tea
  2. Veggie stir fry with ginger and garlic
  3. Strawberry ginger with hibiscus prebiotic soda (this one is my fave!)
  4. Sugared ginger chews
  5. Ginger snap cookies
  6. Ginger pills (perfect if you don’t like the taste of ginger)
Strawberry hibiscus ginger soda

My favorite from the list above? Mayawell’s Strawberry Ginger with Hibiscus healthy soda. It has a strong dose of spicy ginger that’s perfect after a meal to settle the stomach. I often drink it right away in the morning, too, to get my digestive system started on the right foot. With 20% of your daily value of fiber in each can and no refined sugar, it’s the perfect way to amp up ginger’s already amazing benefits.

What are prebiotics?

If you’re a gut-health enthusiast, you may notice that the iPhone doesn’t recognize the word “prebiotics.” That invalidation from Apple makes the modern American ask some questions:

  • Are prebiotics even real, or is this like Dogecoin?
  • If they are real, what are they?
  • Do they mean probiotics, and need to work on their proofreading skills? 

 

All valid questions. That’s why we’ll go over what prebiotics are (yes, they’re real!), and why they’re an important part of any healthful diet.

Definition of prebiotic 

The word prebiotic comes from two root words:

  1. Pre, meaning “before”
  2. Biotic, meaning “produced by life or living organisms”

Merriam-Webster defines prebiotic as “existing or occurring before the origin of life.” (Which sounds pretty existential and profound, doesn’t it?)

When we piece this together through the lens of gut health, we come to the following conclusions:

  1. Prebitoics come before a certain outcome. You can’t have good gut health without first getting your prebiotics right.
  2. Prebiotics involve real, living things. In our gut, prebiotics promote the life of good bacteria all throughout our gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Put very simply, prebiotics are fermentable fiber that help nourish gut bacteria found throughout the intestinal tract. If we were to consider gut bacteria to be “seeds,” we could consider prebiotics to be the essential “water” that grows and nourishes them.

What are prebiotics?

The importance of gut bacteria

 

You may be wondering why we need to worry about our gut bacteria in the first place. It’s a good question! We spend a lot of time washing bacteria off of our hands and cursing bacteria for bad breath on our first date, so why focus on preserving bacteria in your gut? 

 

When we talk about the gut, we’re talking about everything from your mouth to your bum, and all the stuff in-between, too: esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine. 

 

Each part of your gut is lined with bacteria, and this collection of bacteria is called your gut flora, or gut microbiome. Nearly 100 trillion micro-organisms live in our GI tracts. That’s more than the entire Earth’s population! 

 

Your gut bacteria allow you to convert food into what your body needs to thrive. Your gut bacteria:

  • Break down food into forms your body can utilize
  • Assist with mineral and Vitamin absorption
  • Keep your immune system strong
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Control inflammatory responses 
  • Boost metabolism 
  • Improve mental clarity 

 

Essentially, gut bacteria are the super-tiny MVPs of the GI tract. You couldn’t digest without them.

Prebiotics vs. probiotics

If prebiotics nourish our good gut bacteria (remember, “pre” = “before”), it makes sense that probiotics are new living bacteria we can introduce to the digestive system to sit alongside existing bacteria. 

Probiotics can be helpful. If you’re experiencing digestive issues, introducing new bacteria to your gut can help restore balance to your GI tract. However, if you’re not giving your gut bacteria enough food, they’ll continue to die. 

Let’s go back to our garden analogy: say we’re experiencing a terrible drought and our summer garden is shriveling up into a dead, barren wasteland. We can continue to bring new plants and flowers into our garden, but without any water (prebiotics), those plants will continue to shrivel up and die. Furthermore, we waste our time, money, and energy in the process. 

That’s not to say probiotics aren’t helpful—they can be! But they should be accompanied by prebiotics and a healthy dose of fiber. 

Prebiotics vs. fiber

Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of plants, and there are two types: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. 

  • Soluble fiber ferments in the colon (these are prebiotics)
  • Insoluble fiber does not ferment in the colon (these are NOT prebiotics)

Because soluble fiber ferments in the colon, this means it interacts with your gut bacteria. The fermentation allows gut bacteria to eat, be nourished, and grow. 

So, all prebiotics are fiber, but not all fibers are prebiotics. (Much like all hotdogs are sandwiches, but not all sandwiches are hotdogs.)

Balancing your prebiotics 

Gut bacteria, much like you and me, feed off of different foods. Some love avocados, others love celery, some love pineapple, etc. That’s why eating a varied diet is important; it ensures all of your different gut bacteria are getting the nutrients they need.

How to incorporate prebiotics into your diet

Lucky for all of us, there are tons of delicious plants out there that contain the prebiotic fiber we need to keep our gut microbiome happy and healthy. A few of my favorite staples include:

  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas

But, as much as I love Jerusalem Artichoke and garlic, incorporating them into my daily diet just isn’t realistic. That’s why I’ve found other ways to get my needed daily dose of prebiotics.

There are many capsules and supplements out there to help boost your prebiotic intake, but it can be hard to know what’s good quality vs. what’s a marketing scheme. And honestly, I usually forget to take these. There’s no enjoyment that comes with taking a pill, so I find it challenging to stay on track.

That’s why Mayawell is the only way I add prebiotics to my diet now. It comes in 4 bubbly flavors and has 5g of organic, hand-harvested prebiotic fiber in every can (that’s 20% of your daily value!). It’s also free of additives, fillers, stabilizers, and refined sugar. At only 40 calories per can, it’s the perfect, delicious way to reach your fiber goals. And it tastes good, so I never forget to drink it. 

Remember how we talked about balancing your prebiotics? Well, the cool thing about this prebiotic soda is that the Active Agave used to sweeten it retains up to 60% of a person’s existing gut bacteria. This means it’s diverse: it appeals to more types of gut bacteria than most foods.

Prebiotic fiber with Mayawell

Let’s see what you learned

Are you really ready for the real world of gut health? Could you explain what prebiotics are to your mom? Test your new knowledge with the fill-in-the-blank below:

  1. If we were to consider gut bacteria to be “seeds,” we could consider __________ to be the essential “water” that grows and nourishes them.
  2. __________ are new living bacteria we can introduce to the digestive system to sit alongside existing bacteria.
  3. Dietary ________ is an indigestible part of plants, and there are two types: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
  4. True/False: Eating a varied diet is important; it ensures all of your different gut bacteria are getting the nutrients they need.

Answers

  1. Prebiotics
  2. Probiotics
  3. Fiber
  4. True

6 Healthy Reasons Why You Should Add Lime to Your Diet

Limes are one of the most widely used fruits out there, from detox drinks to tequila shots, but they don’t get the same recognition as the exalted lemon. But limes offer more health benefits than people know. They deserve their moment in the sun.

One lime contains about: 2g fiber, 22% of your daily value of vitamin C, and a ton of antioxidants. Let’s dive deeper, and break down what that means for you and your everyday health journey.

Lime is Healthy for Your Heart

Lime supports heart health in several different ways:

  • Contains pectin, which positively affects your cholesterol levels
  • Rich in vitamin C, which helps reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease
  • Contains potassium which helps relieve tension in the walls of blood vessels to help lower blood pressure

Lime Offers Protection Against Kidney Stones

If you’ve had a kidney stone, you know they’re terrible; if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. Research finds that the citric acid in fruits like lime, lemon, and orange may prevent kidney stones from forming. This is why patients with low urinary citrate levels are often encouraged to increase consumption of foods rich in citric acid, like limes. 

Lime Benefits Your Digestive System

Carbohydrates in limes are usually made of soluble fiber in the form of pectin. This soluble fiber helps slow digestion, which keeps your blood sugar stable and inhibits the growth of colon cancer tumors.

Pectin is also known for promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Moreover, citrus fruits like lime contain a nutrient in their peels and oils called d-limonene, which helps relieve symptoms of indigestion and gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Has anyone ever recommended lemon water to start your day, or tea with lemon to settle your stomach? That’s why! We recommend trying iced lime water or green tea with a squeeze of lime, instead.

Lime Lowers Your Risk of Developing Cancer

There are a few properties of limes that help with cancer prevention:

  • The d-limonene in citrus fruits provides multiple health benefits, including cancer prevention.
  • Limes contain a flavonoid called naringenin, which has cancer-preventing solid properties, as recently found in scientific studies.
  • Citrus pulp and juice contain high levels of beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, which are plant compounds that help prevent malignant tumors from forming in rodents.

Lime Protects You Against Anemia

Iron deficiency often leads to the blood disorder anemia. While limes don’t contain high amounts of iron, they do have high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body absorb any iron you may already be consuming.

This is important because a common issue with iron deficiencies is not the lack of iron intake, but rather the body’s inability to use the iron you’re giving it. Helping your body absorb more iron may help balance iron levels overall. 

Lime Promotes Beautiful Skin

Easy, breezy, beautiful… lime. Dermatologists often cite vitamin C for its positive effect on your body’s collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps prevent wrinkles, and also helps keep your joints healthy. 

The juice of limes and lemons is also often used as a natural remedy for acne due to their antibacterial and astringent properties. They help exfoliate skin and prevent pores from getting clogged—and they smell good. Who doesn’t want a lime facial?

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It works hard everyday to protect you from the outside world, so it needs all the help it can get.

Adding Lime to Your Diet

When you consider the health benefits of lime, adding it to your diet is a no-brainer. These are a few of our favorite ways to consume it:

Remember that one of the best ways to achieve overall health is to strive for balance and variety: Eat a varied diet, make sure you’re taking time to slow down and enjoy life while also hustling towards your goals, and balance your lemons with your limes.  

pear lime green tea soda

4 Health Benefits of Pineapple You Should Know Right Now

Pineapple is delicious, and that’s a fact. The only downside is that it requires a fair amount of effort to cut up and reach all that good, golden juiciness inside. But pineapples are worth it: this tropical fruit is loaded with tons of nutritional benefits that support overall health and well-being. Once you learn about all of the good things about pineapple, it’s easy to justify the longer prep time. 

Pineapples are also versatile. They’re bright, sweet flavor makes them the perfect additions to  juices, shakes, fruit salads, and even savory foods like sandwiches and kebabs. If you need more convincing, keep reading to find out why it’s time to add pineapple to your diet.

Pineapples Improve Gut Health

Pineapple is unique in that it serves as a source of dietary bromelain, a digestive enzyme that works to break down proteins in food. (Bromelain is the culprit behind why pineapple sometimes makes your tongue tingle!)

This means that if you suffer from bloating and digestive issues, regularly consuming pineapple may help support these functions. 

Pineapple is also high in fiber. 1 serving of pineapple contains about 13g of dietary fiber. That’s a ton! Dietary fiber has a wide array of benefits, from acting as a prebiotic to regulating blood sugar and helping clean your intestines. 

Pineapples Keep You Hydrated

Similar to watermelons and pears, pineapples are a great way to stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. Pineapples are 85-90% water, so if you’re sick of sipping on boring water all day, pineapples are a great way to make hydration more enjoyable. Adding a dash of pineapple juice to your water makes for a light and refreshing drink that’s super easy to sip on, as well.

Your body needs about eight glasses of water each day, but that doesn’t take into account tough workouts or sweaty summer days. If you think you can’t hit that 8-glass target (or just don’t want to—water can be boring), turn to your friend the pineapple to help you out. 

Pineapples Improve Your Sleep 

Magnesium intake can help you sleep at night. It helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, which can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. 1 cup of sliced pineapple contains 20 milligrams of magnesium and is a great way to up your intake.

Some people with poor gastrointestinal (gut) health can have lower-than-normal levels of magnesium. Remember what we talked about earlier? Pineapple helps improve gut health! 

The gut is incredibly central to all of our body’s key functions. This means that prioritizing gut health leaks into other areas of your life, such as your sleep quality.

Pineapples Contains Potassium

Bananas are famous for being potassium-rich, but they aren’t the only superstar fruit in this category. Your body requires potassium to stay healthy and strong. That’s why it’s one of the essential minerals and a staple of any healthful diet. It helps manage blood pressure, keeps your bones healthy, reduces muscle wasting, and helps keep your kidneys thriving. 

1 serving of pineapple contains about 200 mg of potassium, which is 5% of your daily value. (Bananas are around 9%. You can check out the nutrient content of different foods here.)

Healthy sodas in the US

Conclusion

Whether you eat pineapple raw, add it to your beverage rotation, such as with this pineapple-mango turmeric soda, or include it in your weekend BBQ, your body will benefit! Pineapples are good for your gut, keep you hydrated, improve sleep, and contain notable amounts of potassium and magnesium.

The best thing about pineapple? It’s delicious. It’s important to eat foods you like. This means you’ll continue to eat them, and creating a healthy lifestyle will be an easy and joyful process.

For a simple way to incorporate more pineapple (that also has added gut-health benefits) check out Mayawell! Mayawell offers prebiotic sodas with no refined sugar, 5g dietary fiber, and 40 calories or less.

Why Does Having a Healthy and Balanced Gut Matter?

Most of the time, you eat without even thinking about it. After your plate is cleaned, your food doesn’t get a second thought. But for the body, food takes a lot more work and (metaphorical) thought. That’s where your gut comes in, and that’s why having a healthy and balanced gut matters.

Your gut is responsible for turning food into fuel to keep your organs working, help your body thrive, and keep you awake during that 9 AM meeting.

But what really is gut health? You can’t see your gut, and you can’t always feel it (unless there’s something wrong), so it can be challenging to tell if it’s working its best.

healthy prebiotic soda

Gut health is the function and balance of bacteria throughout your gastrointestinal system. At a very basic level:

gut health = thriving and balanced bacteria

(Remember, bacteria can be good!)

Organs such as the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines all need to function properly to enable humans to eat and digest food without pain, and they can’t do that without good bacteria to help them out.

There’s a lot of science behind how to keep your gut healthy. But here, we’ll focus on why it’s so important to take care of your gut and keep it healthy. Here are three good reasons!

Your Gut Is Responsible for Critical Body Functions

Healthy stomach = excellent well-being.

More than 100 trillion bacteria live in your stomach, and these bacteria are essential to our metabolism healthy and overall well-being. They feed on dietary fiber from the foods we eat, and they perform several functions, such as producing Vitamins B and K and breaking down dietary fiber. 

The breakdown of dietary fiber causes the release of healthy, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, which are essential energy sources for the body’s systems. Now, not all bacteria are beneficial. Some of the “bad” bacteria must be eliminated and replaced with good ones.

An imbalance of bacteria can have a negative impact on your health. Just like with everything in life, we need balance! Fortunately for all of us, balancing bacteria is something prebiotics can help with.

A Healthy Gut Improves Immune System Function

When your immune system is weak, it can usually be linked back to a weak gut. There are tons of reasons for this, some of which are swept into the “leaky gut” discussion that’s become trendy lately. 

The good news? Simply understanding this connection of gut and immunity empowers you to be mindful of what you put in your body so you can improve immunological health. 

A Healthy Gut Enhances Your Mood 

Your stomach is the often called the second brain (creepy, I know). A network of neurons, neurotransmitters, and hormones connects the brain and stomach. That’s how you know when you’re hungry—your gut delivers that message to your brain.

Because of this gut-brain link, poor digestive health may even contribute to mood problems.

You can also see this when you’re really nervous or afraid: Do you get an upset stomach, or lose your appetite? Us too! It’s part of the linked, innate fight or flight response to stressors in our environment.  

3 Key Ways to Keep Your Gut Healthy

Eat Fruits and Vegetables 

Be mindful of how many fruits and vegetables you’re eating. Every meal doesn’t need to be perfect, but making sure you’re aiming for balance is important. Fruits and veggies contain a lot of fiber, and that fiber feeds the good bacteria in your stomach.

Increasing your intake of fermented foods (like kimchi!) is another delicious way to enhance your gut health. Fermentation is often accomplished by a present bacteria or yeast turning carbohydrates in food into organic acids or alcohol. Pretty cool, right?

Try a Probiotic

Another tool that can help keep your gut healthy is a probiotic. Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to your health, particularly the digestive system. A probiotic will introduce new good bacteria to your gut. 

But what about prebiotics? To put it simply, prebiotics serve as food for probiotics. They’re a type of fiber, so you’re probably already consuming some prebiotic-rich foods without even realizing it. However, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough prebiotics to keep your probiotics well-fed. That’s the key to a healthy gut. 

Consume Less Junk Food

This is one of the biggest recommendations out there, but it’s true! Consume highly processed foods in moderation. Highly processed foods are more difficult for your body to digest and process. They aren’t as “natural,” and sometimes your body has trouble knowing what to do with them.

Think about it this way: the human body has been dealing with potatoes for years, but potato chips are a curveball! The cellular structure is different and that makes digestion more challenging. 

This doesn’t mean you can never have potato chips again. It just means you should try to balance potato chips with normal potatoes, as well as fruits and veggies you genuinely enjoy.

Final Thoughts

Much like the perfect chocolate chip cookie and what to get your partner for Valentine’s Day, the human gut is much more complicated than we ever thought it could be. It has a significant effect on overall health: it contributes to a robust immune system, cardiovascular health, mental focus, better mood, good sleep, and efficient digestion. Positive gut health may help avoid certain cancers and autoimmune disorders, too.

There are lots of little things you can do to help keep your gut health. One easy and delicious way is to try one of our healthy prebiotic sodas that comes in 4 bursting flavors! They’re good for your gut and better for your taste buds—we promise.