Prebiotics and probiotics might sound the same, but the truth is that they play different roles in the digestive system and for our overall health.
What are probiotics?
Let’s start with the most popular of the two; probiotics are living bacteria and yeast which dwell within the intestinal tract. Largely known as a source of good bacteria, probiotics help to balance out the good and bad bacteria found in the digestive system. Probiotics can be found in lots of supplements, but also many foods contain smaller quantities of probiotics which can be consumed on a daily basis.
In order to survive, probiotics require food to feed on. That’s why supplements are found in food, milk and also yoghurt which make them quick and easy to ingest.
Some foods which are also probiotics include:
- Yoghurt: These are probably the most popular sources of probiotics since they are so accessible and easy to consume on a daily basis. Yoghurt provides good bacteria to the gut which is essential to good digestive health
- Buttermilk: Just like yoghurt, buttermilk contains good bacteria which directly benefits the gastrointestinal system. It is also a good source of vitamin B12 and Zinc
- Kefir: While kefir has originated in some parts of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia, it has been a well known probiotic for years. It is also high in nutrients which makes it suitable for good digestion.
What are prebiotics?
On the other hand, prebiotics are actually a form of fiber which cannot be digested by the human body. They are plant fibers which are already living within the large intestine and work together with probiotics. The more probiotics you eat, the better the prebiotics work, and the healthier your gut will be.
Foods which can be classified as prebiotics include:
- Garlic: Not only is raw garlic packed with lots of nutrients, but it is an essential form of prebiotics. Raw garlic is also quick and easy to add to your existing meals
- Leeks: Just like garlic, raw leeks are also really easy to incorporate into dinner and lunch dishes. Add some to your stir fry or pasta sauce for an extra kick. Plus, they are also packed with vitamin C and K!
- Asparagus: Finally, asparagus contains more than 5% of fibre, making it another high source of prebiotics. The best way to enjoy raw asparagus is by blending it into an existing green juice or smoothie, since cooking it can reduce some of its healthy benefits