Probiotics has become a buzzword in the last few years. After making waves in the healthy living community, probiotics found their way into the mainstream, with products like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi readily available at local grocery stores. Despite the growing popularity of probiotics, the consumption of prebiotics remains relatively low.
Many are completely unaware of the existence of prebiotics, and its ability to “feed” probiotics. They supply the body with essential nutrients the gut needs to lower inflammation, increase immune function, aid weight loss, and even lower risk for various chronic diseases.
As we approach the holiday season, and all of the unhealthy and gut meddling foods we’re all likely to consume, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to prebiotics and probiotics to stabilize our gut health.
So What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are known as a type of fiber called “oligosaccharides,” a non-digestible fiber compound. Similar to other high-fiber foods like garlic, jicama, and onions, they pass through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and remain undigested.
The body can’t fully break them down. Once they pass through the small intestine, they reach the colon and are fermented by gut microflora (a complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract).
As they make their way through the stomach they bring amazing positive changes to the digestive tract and organs. It’s the fuel needed for beneficial bacteria living in your gut to thrive.
How Do Prebiotics and Probiotics Compare?
Both accomplish important health tasks for the gut. Below are the key differences between how they operate and are used.
How Prebiotics and Probiotics Improve Health Together
Over the past 15 years the medical community has discovered that the colon is incredibly important to wellness. Healthy bacteria strengthens the bowel wall, improves mineral absorption, and aids in the regulation of hormone production. All providing a wide range of essential health benefits.
Prebiotics coupled with probiotics is a dynamic dream team for heightened levels of health. They work in conjunction to produce beneficial bacteria to enable changes to take place in the gastrointestinal system.
What makes prebiotics so vital is their ability to fertilize good bacteria and stop the production of disease causing bacteria. A fundamental role in maintaining balance and diversity within intestinal bacteria.
Another positive side-effect of ample beneficial bacteria is the improvement of overall health, including physical, mental, and emotional. Since gut health is closely connected to other bodily functions, it’s incredibly important to use prebiotics and probiotics together to lower inflammation and disease risks.
Benefits of Higher Intakes of Prebiotics:
- Lower inflammation & autoimmune reactions
- Healthier cholesterol levels
- Lower risk for obesity & weight gain
- Lower risk for cardiovascular disease
- Better gut health
- Improved digestion
- Lower stress response
- Better hormonal balance
- Higher immune function