You’ve probably heard the terms probiotic and prebiotic thrown around but what do those words actually mean?
What is the difference between probiotic and prebiotic and what are the benefits?
Prebiotics and probiotics have a symbiotic relationship. This means if you want to get the full benefits make sure to consume foods that have probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are bacteria that live in food. When we consume them, they survive digestion and end up in our gut – don’t worry though, probiotics are a type of good bacteria that can actually help us have a healthy gut.
The world of probiotics is still fairly recent in the world of nutrition but some early studies have shown that probiotics can perform functions like synthesising vitamins, help absorb vitamins & minerals, and they compete with pathogens for resources which helps support a healthy gut.
For probiotics to survive and thrive they need two things: a viable habitat and a source of food. Our gut makes for the perfect environment for the probiotics to live and as for the source of food – that’s where the prebiotics come in.
Prebiotics are a type of fibre. Their structure is long chain which cannot be digested by our gastrointestinal tract. This means that the prebiotics are still fully formed by the time they reach our gut – a perfect snack for the probiotic bacteria.
Another benefit of consuming prebiotic rich food is the high level of fibre they contain. Besides being a food for probiotics, fibre has many functions in the body such as maintaining bowel health and aiding digestive movements. Fibre is also good for weight loss as high fibrous foods are normally bulky, which full you up and make you feel fuller for longer.
What are the main sources of probiotics?
The main sources of probiotics are fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir. Good sources of probiotics are Jerusalem artichokes, chicory wheat and unrefined wheat.
Sauerkraut is an example of a special type of food as it contains both probiotics and prebiotics. Although filing up on probiotic and prebiotic rich food is a good way to help keep your gut healthy, it is important to maintain a healthy balanced diet and eat everything in moderation.
That way you can be certain your body is getting all the right nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Author: Aisling H.