Today probiotics and prebiotics are not only widely used to treat and prevent gastrointestinal conditions, but are being talked about more than ever. Good gut health is important to the overall health of your body. Probiotics and prebiotics ensure that you are getting a good amount of good bacteria beneficial to feeling your best. If you are new to probiotics and prebiotics and need a lesson in the differences we offer a few simple things to remember.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can positively impact your health. While most probiotics are bacteria, there are also strains of yeast that benefit your body. You can find probiotics in many food products, including fermented dairy and soy products. They are abundant in products like kimchi and sauerkraut. Probiotics can also be purchased in supplement form. The bacteria and yeast in probiotic products are well-studied strains that have been specially prepared to survive the journey through the stomach into the intestines where they can grow.
Prebiotics are substances that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria—you can think of prebiotics as food for probiotics and the healthy bacteria in your system. Whereas probiotics are living microorganisms, prebiotics are non-living. Most prebiotics are carbohydrates that the human body cannot digest but which make excellent food sources for beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics can also be found in food form like bananas, onions, and garlic.
Your body contains billions of bacteria that help you stay healthy. The largest population of bacteria can be found in your intestines. To establish healthy intestinal bacteria you want to ensure you are consuming probiotics and prebiotics. Both can be found in supplements as well as the food you eat. With more and more studies showing the correlation of good gut health to fighting chronic medical problems and even diseases, knowing the difference between the two is critical.