A few months ago my friend was telling me about how she had stomach problems and so forth. I won’t get into all the details, but she mentioned how her doctor said she should eat some yogurt for the “beneficial bacteria… the probiotics”.
I told her that yogurt is ok and there are much better options, which I’ll reveal to you in a minute.
However, I also mentioned to my friend that she must also take some prebiotics, in addition to the probiotics.
Then, with a surprised and confused look on her face asked, “what the heck are those?…. I’ve never even heard of them?… What’s the difference between the pro and prebiotics?”
And this is the typical response I get when I tell someone about prebiotics – most people have never heard of them.
And this is a really important topic for you because healthy “gut bacteria” is vital for BOTH your physical and mental/emotional health.
Also, if you’ve ever taken antibiotics, then you should for sure read today’s article because antibiotics kill off these important bacteria and it can take months before your gut bacteria is back to healthy levels.
Many people have heard of probiotics, but not too many have heard of prebiotics and that’s what I’m going to quickly discuss today – the differences in the two and why you should take both.
Plus, the best foods and supplements to get both from.
Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics
Even though they sound similar, the two play different roles for your health.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics are food for these bacteria.
Even though they play different roles in your body, both are extremely important and work best when taken together. In a short summary:
Probiotics: These are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. They can provide numerous health benefits, such as:
- Help prevent and treat diarrhea
- Keep your regular and your colon healthy
- Improve mental and emotional health
- Keep your heart healthy
- Boost your immune system
- Even help lose weight and belly fat
Prebiotics: These substances come from types of carbs (mostly fiber) that humans can’t digest. The beneficial bacteria in your gut eat this fiber.
Basically, PREbiotics are fuel for the PRObiotics. Prebiotics help feed the PRObiotics and healthy bacteria in your gut.
Thus, with the addition of prebiotics, the probiotics you take will do more and continue to grow and get stronger.
Where To Get Your Probiotics
You can get these from food and supplements.
As far as food sources, yogurt is one that most people have heard of. If you make home-made yogurt, it’s much healthier and has higher prebiotics than the store bought ones.
However, I prefer fermented foods such as:
- Sauerkraut – which has REALLY high amounts
- Kefir (dairy and non-dairy, I suggest NON)
Your other option is in supplement form, which is what I personally do. Now, this can get really complicated because there are so many strains and quantity.
Some are just 2 strains and have a few million “microorganisms” and “cultures”. Then we have those that might have as many as over 12 strains and 90+ BILLION “microorganisms/cultures”.
The higher the amounts, the more effective.
Again, this is too complicated to get into the details in today’s article.
However, I will give you some suggestions.
- The higher the amount, the more effective it is.
- Start low and build up. If you take too much or too high of strains/cultures, you’ll be going to the bathroom a lot.
- Keep switching brands, strains and culture amounts every 1-2 months to prevent your gut from adapting and to introduce new strains and cultures.
- Keep it refrigerated, so it stays fresh, active and “alive”.
Where To Get Your Prebiotics
Similar to probiotics, you can get these from food and supplements.
Prebiotics are types of fiber found in carbohydrate sources.
Foods that are high in prebiotic fiber include:
- Legumes, beans, and peas.
However, keep in mind that you do need to eat a lot of these foods to get a good amount of prebiotics.
This is why I just take a supplement for it, to guarantee I get a good amount of prebiotics. There are many brands that sell prebiotics. If you want to keep it simple and really inexpensive, which is what I do — I just take Inulin powder.
I take it at night and you don’t need much — just ¼ or ½ TEAspoon to start with. You’ll feel it in the morning and your colon will thank you for it.
The prebiotics help feed and fuel the probiotics. You don’t need to take them at the same time, but you should take both daily.
These two are one of my favorites – “gotta have supplements” and “foods” in my diet for overall health, fitness, and longevity — inside and out, physical and mental/emotional.
So if you aren’t taking them, please do so.