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Probiotics vs. Prebiotics for Gut Health

By Stepy Kamei

If you've been looking into ways to improve your digestive and gut health, you may be aware of the importance of adding probiotics into your diet. However, nutritionists have more recently been discussing a nutrient known as prebiotics. So what's the difference between probiotics and prebiotics anyway? Is one better for you than the other? How do they benefit your health, and which foods supply these nutrients in the first place? Keep on reading to get the answers to these questions and learn more about the difference between probiotics and prebiotics.

Breaking Down the Two Nutrients

Simply put, even though probiotics and prebiotics are two separate nutrients, they both provide important benefits to a person's gut and digestive health. Essentially, probiotics are bacteria, while prebiotics are the food those bacteria feed on.

All About Probiotics

Even though you may have learned at a young age that bacteria is bad (it's what leads to the development of injuries and illnesses, after all), these bacteria are actually good for you and your health. Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in quite a few foods, as well as supplements. They help to keep your digestive tract healthy and functioning properly. Furthermore, they protect your digestive tract from potential harmful bacteria from entering and wreaking havoc. Everyone has bacteria in their digestive tracts.

The Facts on Prebiotics

However, probiotics can't sustain themselves if they don't have something to feed on. This is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are substances that enter the body through the consumption of carbs (and more specifically, fiber). The bacteria from probiotics eat these substances once they enter your digestive tract.

Keeping Good Gut Health

So, how can you make sure you're keeping your gut and digestive tract healthy with these substances?

For prebiotics, make sure you're getting a healthy amount of natural fiber into your diet every day. Whole wheat bread, whole grains, and legumes are all great natural sources of dietary fiber.

As for probiotics, you can find these healthy bacteria in products such as whole fat yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. Many companies have made it a point to list whether their products contain probiotics, which is certainly very helpful! However, be sure that the products you're choosing are healthy on an overall basis. Avoid added sugars or preservatives as these can be very detrimental for other aspects of your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Denton, Tex. 

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