Although their names may look and sound the same, prebiotics and probiotics are quite different.
However, they do have one thing in common, and that is promoting a healthy digestive system.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms or friendly bacteria that live in your lower digestive tract. These bacteria are essential to a balanced and therefore, healthy digestive system.
As well as our own probiotics there are also manmade probiotics that are derived from fermented foods such as yogurt and pickled vegetables.
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a special form of soluble fibers that occur naturally in fruits and raw vegetables. Prebiotics play a vital role in supporting probiotics and restoring a healthy balance to your digestive system.
Why Probiotics Can’t Do Without Prebiotics
Whether it’s the intestinal flora in your gut or the probiotics in your yogurt or supplements, probiotics are non-supporting. This means they can’t survive for too long on their own.
Without prebiotics the good bacteria that live in your gut would soon be overrun by harmful bacteria and yeast infections. Without prebiotics the vast majority of probiotics in your bio-live yogurt or supplement would not survive the journey to your lower intestines.
The fact is, prebiotics provide the fertiliser or fuel that enable probiotics to carry on their essential job of keeping your digestive system healthy and balanced.
In addition to strengthening your existing probiotics, prebiotics create the perfect intestinal environment for your probiotics to grow and thrive. This is achieved when prebiotics begin to ferment in your small intestines and colon.
Fermentation creates a by product called lactic acid and it’s this acid that prevents or stops harmful bacteria from taking hold in your intestinal tract. It’s also the same lactic acid that prevents foods from going bad or becoming spoiled.
Which Is Should You Take One Or The Other
If your digestive system is unbalanced, as most people’s are, then taking probiotics and prebiotics can help you. Probiotics are a good way to replenish the bacteria you’ve lost.
Consider taking probiotics with prebiotics as the latter will ensure more bacteria survive the journey to your gut.
Use probiotics as a short term solution to restoring your digestive system. Once your beneficial bacteria have been replenished then you don’t need to keep topping them up if your already using prebiotics.
Prebiotics should be considered as a long term solution to your digestive health, so they should be consumed daily as a part of your healthy diet.
The best sources of prebiotics are found in fruits and raw vegetables.
Here are a examples of prebiotic rich foods;
- Raw asparagus
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Raw leeks
- Raw garlic
- Raw onions
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
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