While "prebiotics" and "probiotics" sound like technical jargon, they are both actually ingredients that can be beneficial to your health. Your digestive tract contains trillions of bacteria, some good and some bad. Both prebiotics and probiotics are needed to keep your digestive system functioning. Here you will find an overview of the benefits of each product and how you can get them from the foods you eat.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are used by your gut bacteria to improve health. They are mainly made from carbohydrates that humans cannot digest. Prebiotics promote the production of probiotic bacteria, which are live bacteria that live in your digestive tract, and help maintain a healthy gut by controlling the growth of harmful bacteria and removing potentially harmful germs.
Sources of prebiotics are mainly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as:
- Beans and peas
Some prebiotics have been added (or fortified) to foods like bread, granola, and yogurt. If you're not sure if a food contains prebiotics, check the ingredient list on the label for one of the following terms: galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, oligofructose, chicory fiber, and inulin.
Prebiotics also help with calcium absorption, help you stay regular (you know what we mean), and keep the cells that line your gut healthy.
It is recommended that you get your prebiotics from whole foods (like the ones listed above). Start slowly and work your way up. Consuming too many prebiotics at the same time can lead to gas or gas.
What are probiotics?
As mentioned above, your gut is filled with good bacteria that help balance out the bad bacteria. Probiotics are known to be good bacteria because they keep your gut healthy. When good bacteria are destroyed (like when you take antibiotics), probiotics can help replace them. Some conditions that probiotics can help with include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea from microorganisms, and diarrhea from antibiotics. In addition, probiotics can also lead to fewer digestive problems such as gas and bloating. There is still so much to learn about probiotics, and many studies are studying different strains and health conditions that probiotics can help with.
You can find probiotics in fermented foods, including:
In addition to food, you can find probiotics in the form of dietary supplements in two main forms: Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria. They have different advantages. So ask your doctor (doctor or nutritionist) which one is best for you. Side effects can include stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, and bloating for several days until your body gets used to them. Probiotics can also cause allergic reactions. Always discuss supplements with your doctor before taking them.
Get the best of both worlds
In order to keep probiotic bacteria happy, they need to feed on prebiotics. Since both are needed for a healthy gut, there is no winner in this food battle – like a zero-zero soccer game, it is a tie. Your best bet? Eat a combination of prebiotic and probiotic foods regularly.