Probiotics vs Prebiotics
You may have heard of probiotics, but what’s the deal with prebiotics?
First off, let’s talk about probiotics.
Probiotics are healthy or good bacteria that live in our digestive systems and they help keep the balance between the good and the bad bacteria. Probiotics can have some excellent health benefits such as improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, leaky-gut syndrome, and side effects from taking antibiotics (which strip the intestinal lining of the good bacteria). Some people report such significant gastrointestinal improvement, that probiotics can stem weight loss simply due to proper digestive function.
Common foods that often contain probiotics include yogurt, milk and cheese, however, more and more people seem to be food sensitive to these products and it may be better to opt for a probiotic supplement. All probiotic supplements contain different strains of bacteria called CFUs. This is a measure of how many bacterial strains it contains and how many are able to divide and form colonies. The higher the CFU, typically the better, and this is usually read as x billion CFUs.
So what about prebiotics then??
Prebiotics are essentially non-digestible carbohydrates that act like food to our probiotics, helping them grow and multiply in our digestive system.
Prebiotics can be found naturally in foods such as artichoke, garlic, onion, bananas and asparagus. And, of course, you can also find prebiotics in supplement.
All this prebiotic/probiotic talk may get you thinking about what you need to be adding to your nutritional regime, but just remember that everyone is different, and just because you’re not deliberately adding prebiotics and probiotics to your diet, doesn’t meant that you don’t have a good digestive tract!
However, if you’ve been suffering from chronic gastrointestinal issues or are taking an antibiotic, prebiotics and probiotics may be something you want to incorporate!