PREbiotics vs. PRObiotics: What’s the difference?
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of probiotics. They have become a staple in new-age health talks, but have you heard of prebiotics? You either A.) Have heard of this and know what it is, or, B). You think I’ve just misspelt “probiotics.”
Truth is, prebiotics hold equal importance to probiotics in terms of having a healthy gut. Both play a significant role in the microbiome. In fact, prebiotics and probiotics go hand in hand. So what exactly is the difference between them?
Did you know there are nearly 1000 different types of bacteria in your gut? That’s a lot of different strains of bacteria to feed. Where does your gut microbiome get this food? Prebiotics! Acting as the food for the bacteria in your gut, prebiotics come from specialized plant fibres. They act as ‘fertilizer,’ stimulating the growth of good bacteria.
Foods rich in prebiotics are also typically those rich in fibre, such as apples, onions, and oats. Prebiotic fibre is non-digestible and passes through the small intestine until it is fermented in the large intestine. Once these substances are fermented, they become food for all the bacteria in your gut.
Although the best available option for getting enough prebiotics is within your diet, you can supplement as well. That Hippie Co’s Collagen Booster & Prebiotic contains inulin to help feed the good bacteria, as well as helping to maintain skin health.
So you’ve been drinking your Kombucha and having your Apple Cider Vinegar… But do you know why these products are so valuable? They are loaded with live cultures. As Raphael Kellman, author of The Microbiome Diet says, “I think of taking probiotics as the equivalent of restocking a pond with fish… Taking prebiotics, by contrast, is like nourishing and supporting the fish that are already in the pond.”
Foods rich in probiotics are typically fermented. These can include foods like yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, and kombucha. There are a lot of different strains of probiotic organisms, with the most common being lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. The next time you buy a fermented item, look on the label to ensure it contains live cultures and what strains!
It is important to have a diverse diet to get a diverse gut flora. It is the diversity that really keeps a healthy, balanced gut.
PRE vs PRO? Nope. Pre AND Pro
Just as our friend Raphael analogised earlier, think of the koi fish pond. You need fish to inhabit the pond, but then you need to feed the fish to keep them alive and flourishing. The same goes for your gut, a balance of both pre and probiotics is essential to gut homeostasis.
To wrap it up, eat fermented foods to get a good source of probiotics and fibrous foods to get a good source of prebiotic. If you’re busy and don’t have the time to change up your diet, you can try supplementing.
Good gut health can help with bloating, digestion, and heaps more! Don’t neglect your micro-sized friends calling your body home!