Let’s talk about Prebiotics and Probiotics. Although they might sound similar, these supplements serve somewhat different roles in our digestive system.
Prebiotics are substances that stimulate the production or activity of beneficial micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi in food. For example, in the gastrointestinal tract, prebiotics can alter organism composition in the gut microbiome. Bananas, onions, garlic, apple peel, chicory root and beans are several foods that are rich in non-digestive fiber. Prebiotic material travels through the small intestine, fermenting until it enters the large colon. This fermentation cycle feeds beneficial bacteria (including probiotic bacteria).
Probiotics are microorganisms which provide a health benefit to the user. While it is typically a live bacteria, it’s considered a “good bacteria.” Some of the foods that are rich in probiotics include sauerkraut, yogurt, raw cheese, miso soup, kimchi, apple cider vinegar and brined olives. Probiotics can help immensely with the digestive process, particularly with two key bacterial groups: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Both strains of bacteria help in multiple digestive processes, such as digestion of milk sugar (lactose) and the elimination of concentrations of other carcinogenic enzymes. Most notably, probiotics can help relieve symptoms caused by IBS, lactose intolerance and other digestive issues.
“A helpful metaphor to understand the difference between a prebiotic and a probiotic may be a garden. You can add seeds—the probiotic bacteria—while the prebiotic fiber is the water and fertilizer that helps the seeds to grow and flourish.” -Dr. Frank W. Jackson.
Benefits of PROBIOTICS
Probiotics clean out and remove anything that can disrupt the digestive tract, such as toxic microbes, pollutants, chemicals and other waste items. The good bacterial equilibrium assists in controlling gastrointestinal motility and preserving function of the gut barrier. Like prebiotics, probiotics can also strengthen the immune system. Probiotics can cause mild diarrhea, but the benefits generally outweigh the side effects. Besides building a better gut, probiotics can give you a clearer complexion.
Which foods boost Prebiotics and Probiotics in my diet?
Fermented products, such as sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are rich sources of probiotic bacteria that go directly to the colon. Adding a few portions of probiotic-rich products to your everyday diet is a simple and efficient way to enhance the intestinal microbiota and boost overall health. Consider making a few easy changes in your diet to get going. For starters, replace soda, juices, and energy drinks with fermented beverages, such as kombucha or kefir. You can also swap traditional yogurt with probiotic yogurt and standard dairy items with raw milk or cheese.
When is the best time to take Prebiotics and Probiotics?
If you decide to add prebiotics and probiotics to your diet, make sure to take them daily and regularly.