It’s a team effort when it comes to bettering your digestive health. You try your best by eating the right foods, avoiding the harmful ones anad maintaining a healthy level of physical activity throughout your week. However, despite taking all the correct steps, you still need help from probiotics.
How Probiotics Help
Probiotics are small, microscopic bacteria that reside in your gut. Unlike harmful types of bacteria that can cause disease and infection, probiotics work diligently to support a healthy ecosystem inside the human body. Many researchers still continue to study how they aid the body, their positive impact on digestion and how they can help people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, research has discovered that probiotics may be greatly beneficial for ailments outside of the digestive system such as arthritis and asthma.
Due to the numerous benefits probiotics provide, many consumers are now specifically searching for supplements and foods that contain these special bacteria. Common fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and kombucha, are also available as supplement forms. Furthermore, manufacturers are answering the call for healthy gut supplements by creating prebiotics as well as probiotics. Since there’s only one letter that differentiates the two bacteria, many consumers may think the two are the same and/or interchangeable. However, despite probiotics and prebiotics being closely related, they still have a number of differences.
How Prebiotics Help
As mentioned earlier, probiotics are minute organisms that live in your gut. Similar to most living beings, probiotics need food and a healthy environment to grow. This is where prebiotics come in, providing all the needed sustenance that probiotics require to survive. To be more specific, prebiotics are nondigestible fibers that the human body cannot process but are an invaluable food source for the probiotics residing in the gut. The primary benefit prebiotics provide to humans is serving as a fuel source for the helpful organisms inside you. Without integrating both probiotics and prebiotics into your daily diet, there is very little chance the human gut will gain the many perks associated with probiotics.
Providing Relief To A Number Of Ailments
There is a considerable amount of data that points to probiotics being a great additive to healthy and smooth digestive proves. Today’s research has also shown that these microscopic organisms may aid with symptoms of diarrhea caused by antibiotics, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, there are a growing number of studies that support the idea that probiotics may provide relief to sepsis, allergies and periodontal disease.
On the other hand, prebiotics have shown to carry just as many health benefits. Prebiotic ingredients are thought to improve the body’s mineral absorption, reduce cholesterol, stimulate the immune system and prevent obesity. Some researchers are also looking into the connection between a rich prebiotic diet and a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
Getting Enough Probiotics & Prebiotics
The easiest and most accessible way to make sure your body is getting plenty of probiotics and prebiotics is eating a diet that is rich in both of them. However, be warned. Not all fermented foods have probiotics, but you can still find them in several kinds of pickles, certain aged and soft cheeses and even cottage cheese. Other foods that are comprised with high amounts of probiotics – such as miso, tempeh and kefir – may not be well-known to some Americans but are highly recommended. Many foods that contain prebiotics are usually already common staples in a healthy, well-balanced diet. These include onions, mushrooms, asparagus, wheat bran, apples and bananas.
For more information on the difference between probiotics and prebiotics along with food examples, check out the infographic below.