The Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics

Did you know that you have bacteria living inside your body right now? Some of the bacteria are helpful and of course, some of it isn’t so helpful. You can shift the balance of good bacteria versus bad bacteria by introducing more good bacteria, called Probiotics, into your body.

One of the primary locations for bacteria is in your gut. The good bacteria in your digestive system actually help you digest and absorb nutrients.

Probiotics are, according to The World Health Organization’s definition, “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host”. So probiotics are live bacteria that you ingest. They’re found in a number of fermented foods naturally including; yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, some soft cheeses like Gouda, kefir, sourdough bread, tempeh, and of course you can use supplementation. Probiotics come in a variety of supplement forms from powder to lozenges, to capsules.

The Confusion About Prebiotics

Many people falsely believe that prebiotics are another type of bacteria that aids digestion. This simply isn’t true. Prebiotics are food sources that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your body. Some prebiotic foods include Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, red wine, honey and maple syrup. You can also find it in raw chicory root, raw dandelion greens, raw garlic, raw leek, raw onion, cooked onion, raw asparagus, raw wheat bran, and whole wheat flour.

So prebiotics feed probiotics and help them grow and multiply in your digestive system. And getting both into your diet on a daily basis can help improve not only your digestion but a number of other areas as well.

Benefits of Prebiotics and Probiotics

Studies have shown that a healthy digestive system, one that has an abundance of pre and pro biotics improves your immune system. You get sick less often. Additionally, it helps your body absorb minerals. And if you suffer from digestive disorders like Inflammatory Bowel you’ll see a change in your digestion and an ease in your symptoms. Finally, some studies indicate that a healthy digestive system can help reduce your risk of stomach and colon cancer.

The Bottom Line

Talk with your doctor about the best approach. Many physicians recommend taking a daily probiotic supplement. Combine this with a daily diet that includes prebiotic foods and you’re on your way to a healthy and improved digestive system. If you struggle with gas, bloating, or chronic constipation and/or diarrhea, add prebiotics and probiotics to your diet.

Probiotics for Adults:

Probiotics for Children:

Probiotics for Pets:

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