You’re trying to eat healthier, but sometimes it can seem daunting. If you’re doing the research yourself, you’re probably encountering a bunch of new terms, and some can end up being a little bit confusing.
For example, if you’re eating healthier you’ve probably heard that having more probiotics in your diet is a good thing. But you also heard that you probably need more prebiotics. Wait, are these the same thing? They’re not, but we can tell you the difference between them and help you find more foods high in prebiotics and foods high in probiotics.
Prebiotics are essentially like a fertilizer that helps you grow more healthy bacteria in your gut. They aren’t digestible by your body, so instead, they end up passing through your digestive system. Then they become a food of sorts for some of the bacteria and other microbes that make up the diverse environment that is your digestive system.
Probiotics set themselves apart by containing live organisms. These are particular strains of bacteria that can just take up residence with some of the healthier microbes that already exist in your gut.
Essentially, both prebiotics and probiotics can help improve gut health, but they do so in different ways.
How to Get More
Being plant fibers, prebiotics can be found in a variety of produce items, particularly fruits and veggies that contain complex carbs like starch. Common sources of prebiotics include asparagus, yams, bananas, and potatoes. Other fiber-rich foods, like some whole grains, can also contain plenty of pre-biotics.
One of the biggest and most common sources of probiotics is yogurt since it’s made by fermenting milk with different bacteria. Then it shouldn’t be a surprise that other fermented foods are good additions to your diet if you want to consume more probiotics. Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh are all great sources of probiotics, and they’re still acceptable options for anyone on a vegetarian diet. Just watch out for pasteurized products. These often lose their probiotic benefits during the pasteurizing process
Do You Need to Supplement?
Consuming the right amount of probiotics and prebiotics can help you keep a balanced gut that’s full of good bacteria. However, many people do not necessarily get the nutrients they need from their regular diet. You can adjust your diet to be a bit healthier, but there are still some situations in which you may need to add supplements that can boost the number of probiotics and prebiotics you’re consuming.
There are many different types of supplements on the market though, so it pays to do some research and talk to your doctor about which probiotic and prebiotic supplements can actually help with your gut health and which will just be pricey placebos.
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