Probiotic and Prebiotic Differences
Probiotics and Prebiotics are in a way similar. However, they do some drastically different things for your body.
In this post, my goal is to break down the differences between the two in an easy to understand way, this way you can easily know what they are!
I’ll keep the science as simple as I can, and you can always go deeper if you choose! It’s pretty nerdy but very fascinating (I’m a legit nerd!)
Probiotic and Prebiotic Similarities
Before we go into how they are different, we need to understand in fundamental terms, what Probiotic and Prebiotics are.
Our digestive tracts are home to trillions of bacteria; most of these bacteria are incredibly helpful to our body, and, without them, or the right balance, we can suffer from many types of diseases.
The gut bacteria health benefits are being heavily studied.
Especially as the link between stuff like cancer shows links to unhealthy gut bacteria.
Both Probiotic and Prebiotics help to keep and maintain your gut bacteria healthy, though HOW they go about it is different.
What is a Prebiotic?
Prebiotics are the non-digestible parts of foods including but not limited to:
- Apple Skin
- Flax Seeds
- Cucumber Skin
These foods make it through the small intestine undigested and then ferment in the large intestine (colon).
To be honest, the idea of food you ate fermenting in your colon is kind of gross, and kind of crazy!
However, the fermenting process is what feeds the bacteria currently in your gut; they NEED this food to survive. Without prebiotic fiber, then the bacteria will start to die off; this can have serious health consequences.
(Luckily for me, bananas are my staple diet, I seriously eat about 5 every single day!)
So, in summary, prebiotics is food that feeds your gut bacteria to keep them healthy, which in turn helps to keep YOU healthy.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics differ from prebiotics in that this is a supplement that already has beneficial living bacteria!
Many probiotic supplements are in the form of freeze-dried; this allows the supplements to be packaged as pills or powders as opposed to perishable foods like yogurt and kefir milk. The probiotics in freeze-dried supplements are still alive!
However, as with all freeze-dried foods, it’s generally better to get non-freeze dried products.
A significant reason why yogurt is so good for you is the fact that yogurt is a probiotic naturally.
The process of making foods like yogurt naturally contains the same bacteria we need in our guts!
That is pretty incredible if you ask me!
There are many, many types of bacteria (and yeast); however, there are two main groups:
- Lactobacillus – found in yogurt and similar foods. It can help with diarrhea and potentially lactose intolerance.
- Bifidobacterium – Not as common, but these bacteria tend to fight off harmful bacteria. Possibly gives the immune system a boost.
In summary, probiotics are food that already naturally contain healthy bacteria we need in our digestive tracts.
I hope that helps to clear up a little bit about a rather complicated subject. Make sure to click the links to read more about prebiotics, probiotics, or both! I go into a lot more detail in there.