You’ve probably heard about probiotics, foods like kimchi and kefir and other fermented goodies have recently been getting attention. And with good reason! Probiotics are little helpers for your gut, in fact, your gut is likely teeming with them right now, working hard to help your digestion and immune system. While you may not feel them working right away, you will certainly feel the effects of these microorganisms and what they can do for your health. And when your gut is out of balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria you’ll be feeling that too!
More and more people are figuring out what has scientifically already been proven—that your overall health is directly linked to gut health. It’s an idea that’s easy to believe once you experience it because the feeling inside your body is noticeable. Scientifically, the microbiome of billions of bacteria is in constant flux and work to break down your food, detoxify your system, regulate hormones, and a litany of other important functions.
And prescription drugs, processed foods, antibiotics and many so-called normal things we digest on a daily basis are destructive to the microbiome.
Almost everywhere we look these days, health food markets are stocking probiotic-friendly foods. There are a ton of fermented food and beverage sources rich in probiotics. But beware of excess sugars and artificial ingredients in some of these foods as they can inhibit potency and efficacy. Some common food and drink probiotic sources are:
In health-conscious circles prebiotics have been a “thing” for a while but they haven’t quite gotten the same amount of attention as probiotics, until recently. We wanted to add to this conversation and offer some insight to help you understand the difference between prebiotics and probiotics and why both should be added to your regular health regime.
Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber that gets fermented in the gut. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut to help nourish and maintain a strong healthy environment. Prebiotics such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are found naturally in plant whole foods such as:
The Benefits of Probiotics
Foods like yogurt and kombucha often advertise their probiotic content as a selling point, due to the known digestive health benefits associated with healthy gut flora. Benefits such as improved digestion, reduced intestinal discomfort, enhanced weight-loss metabolism, and a boosted gut lining.
Typically, probiotics are outright recommended by physicians to accompany an intense antibiotic regimen, as an attempt to preserve the “good” bacteria as the medication attacks the “bad” stuff. Although, generally, live cultured probiotics are too delicate for oral consumption, due to the stomach acids’ neutralizing effects on probiotics.
The Benefits of Prebiotics
In lieu of probiotics, prebiotics are recommended for their ability to survive the neutralizing effects of stomach acid.
Plus, as food for probiotics, prebiotics don’t necessarily need to be “alive” in the way probiotics need to be in order to have a positive effect on gut health. This gives prebiotics a time advantage over probiotics as well. So, these are just a few reasons why prebiotic supplements might be a better way to go over probiotics.