Learn What You Need to Know About Pre and Probiotics

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There is a ton of information about health, wellness, and the human body all over the internet. From medical journals to infographics, to new studies that are being published by researchers, to influencers who swear by a certain lifestyle or training program, and just about everything in between, it’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of information. Not only that, but it can also be difficult to weed out fact from fiction.

This is especially the case when it comes to our gut health, and understanding all of the microorganisms and other tiny delicate nuances that create our individual internal ecosystem. If you’ve been doing any health and wellness research lately, or you’ve had any recent conversations about gut health in general, you’ve likely heard of probiotics.

Just because you’ve heard of them, though, doesn’t mean you totally understand them. In addition to probiotics, there are also prebiotics, which add a whole additional layer of gut health that needs understanding.

The following guide will take you through the difference between pre and probiotics and everything you need to know about each.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living strains of bacteria that can yield health benefits to the individuals who ingest them on a regular basis. These living bacterial strains are often referred to as “good bacteria” because of their role in our microbiome.

The microbiome is the composition of trillions of living microorganisms that take up residency in each of our GI tracts. The living strains of bacteria found in probiotics adds to the overall health of this internal micro-ecosystem.

It’s also important to note that the bacteria included in probiotics can’t survive for more than a couple of days (at most) within the human system. As such, it’s vital to consume an adequate amount of probiotics on a regular basis in order to see any of the health benefits that are associated with probiotics.

What are Prebiotics?

Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are non-living non-digestible ingredients in food. Rather than adding cultures of healthy bacteria to the gut, prebiotics provides strategic support to the probiotic bacteria. For example, some prebiotics work as nutrition and food for the probiotic microorganisms which allows them to grow and flourish within the gut. Other prebiotic foods help to single out bad bacteria present in the gut, which can then free up more space for the healthy bacteria we want present.

Due to their complementary role, optimized gut health requires regular ingestion of both probiotics and prebiotics. Individuals can work to include natural sources of pro and prebiotics in their normal diet, but can also use supplements to amplify their efficacy.

Natural Sources

There are natural sources of both probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotic cultures can be found specifically in fermented foods. A list of such foods includes yogurt, kefir, miso soup, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickled vegetables, tempeh, natto, and sourdough bread.

While probiotic cultures are present in these foods, science is still uncertain about the efficacy and potency of naturally occurring probiotics. In order to ensure that your body is receiving the benefits of probiotics, it’s common to look to a high-quality probiotic supplement.

Prebiotics also occur naturally in a variety of different food groups. Natural prebiotic sources include bananas, oats, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, garlic, onions, chicory root, and soybeans.

Prebiotics often occur naturally in complex carbohydrates that are difficult for our system to digest. As such, they arrive to the colon largely intact wherein they act as nutrition and fuel for the healthy probiotic cultures present there. If you’re looking for ways to improve your health and well-being, you should consider evaluating your gut health and incorporating pro and prebiotics in order to optimize your gut health, and in turn, your overall health.

Dietary Supplements

As mentioned above, it can be difficult to get enough natural probiotics and prebiotics in your regular diet to see any actual benefit. As such, many individuals turn to health supplements in order to obtain the proper volume of probiotics and prebiotics for their health.

There are a wide variety of supplement brands on the market, and if you’re going to look to a health supplement as your source of probiotics and prebiotics, take the time to conduct some research and choose a brand that offers high-quality supplements.

A few Final Thoughts

Gut health is an extremely vital aspect of our overall well-being. Probiotics and prebiotics offer our bodies the good bacteria it needs within our GI tract, while also providing that healthy bacteria with the fuel it needs to grow and flourish.

If you’re looking to make some health-related resolutions moving into the new year, consider adding a probiotic and prebiotic supplement into your routine.

This content is brought to you by Shahbaz Ahmed

Photo by Tim-Oliver Metz on Unsplash

The post Learn What You Need to Know About Pre and Probiotics appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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