Prebiotics and probiotics can affect not only your digestive health but also your overall well-being. Here’s why they should be a part of your diet.
Prebiotics and probiotics are all the rage these days, especially with the advent of products like symbiotics (which contain both prebiotics and probiotics) and postbiotics (which are byproducts of probiotic activity).
However, you may be wondering what prebiotics and probiotics are. This guide reviews what they are, sources and benefits of each, and how to add them to your diet easily.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that can populate in your gut after you consume them. These bacteria are beneficial, potentially helping create a more favorable balance of bacteria in your digestive tract.
Probiotics are found in fermented foods, like:
- Yogurt and kefir: fermented dairy products
- Kombucha: fermented tea
- Kimchi and sauerkraut: fermented cabbage
- Sourdough bread: bread made with a fermented dough starter
- Soft cheeses: cheese that is made with live cultures, like brie
- Miso, natto, and tempeh: fermented soybean products
Additionally, you can get probiotics from probiotic supplements.
What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food sources for the healthy bacteria living in your gut. Prebiotics are mostly fiber, the portion of plant foods that is indigestible to humans. Fiber can reach the large intestine undigested, where the bacteria that reside there can digest it. This can provide a number of benefits for your gut health.
Prebiotics are found in fiber-rich foods, like:
- Whole grains: bread, corn, rice, pasta
- Fruits: apples, berries, bananas
- Vegetables: broccoli, celery, carrots, sweet potatoes
- Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
- Seeds: sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds
- Legumes: black beans, soy, chickpeas, peanuts
Fiber supplements can also provide prebiotics.
Benefits of probiotics and prebiotics
Together, probiotics and prebiotics can help the healthy bacteria in your gut to proliferate and flourish. This can have a number of positive effects on your health, such as:
- Improved digestion: Healthy gut bacteria can help prevent issues like diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, slow digestion, bloating, and discomfort.
- Hormonal balance: The gut bacteria also play a role in blood glucose management and hormonal balance.
- Better brain function: The gut-brain axis is a line of communication between the digestive system and the brain that can be optimized by a healthier balance of gut bacteria.
- Stronger immune system: A large portion of your immune system is housed in your gut, so having a robust network of healthy gut bacteria may help you get sick less often.
- Clearer skin: Your skin can be profoundly affected by your digestive health and gut bacteria, so you may find that some skin problems can resolve with a more beneficial balance of gut bacteria.
How to add these to your diet
The best way to add prebiotics and probiotics to your diet is to eat the foods that are naturally rich in them. Fruits and vegetables, which are rich in prebiotic fiber, also provide a number of other benefits, like their nutrient and antioxidant content. They should be a huge part of your diet.
However, it can be difficult for some people to get enough probiotics in the diet because fermented foods can be unappealing to many. Additionally, you may struggle with fiber intake if you’re not used to eating lots of fiber. This is where probiotic and prebiotic supplements come in. Medlixr’s Candida Balance contains both probiotics and prebiotics, and the ACV + Keto supplement contains probiotics to help you improve the balance of your gut bacteria.