Last week, we talked about probiotics—the healthy bacteria we want to encourage in our stomachs. This week, we’re talking prebiotics: what’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, and do you really need them in order to have a healthy gut?

 

 

Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in certain foods or in supplements. Probiotics are good bacteria we want in our bodies for a variety of health reasons. Having the right gut bacteria has been linked to benefits like improved digestion, better immune function and more. In other words, probiotics are super important!

 

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are not living things: they come from some types of carbs (mostly fiber) that humans can’t digest. The good bacteria in your gut feed on this fiber. In other words, prebiotics feed probiotics—kind of like how fertilizer helps a plant grow. You want to make sure you have enough prebiotics in your system to keep the good bacteria healthy and thriving.

 

 

Which foods are prebiotic?

Prebiotics naturally occur in lots of foods. Here are some you probably already eat:

  • Bananas
  • Beans, lentils & chickpeas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Oats
  • Blueberries
  • Asparagus
  • Chia seeds

 

 

If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough prebiotics from your diet alone, some people take a prebiotic supplement. It’s usually a powder form that dissolves in things like coffee, tea, soup, or you can add on top of yogurt, in cereal or juice. If you do want to start supplementing your prebiotic intake, make sure to check with your doctor to find out what your body needs. And, from friend to friend here, it might take some time for your digestive system to adjust to the extra fiber…if you know what we mean ;-).

 

Whether you decide to get them through diet or supplements, prebiotics and probiotics work together to keep you healthy and feeling great. So trust your gut!