Probiotics v.s prebiotics

You’ve heard of gut health. You’ve heard of probiotics. You’ve seen the explosion of cultured yoghurt, apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut and other gut-friendly foods onto the wellness scene. What’s more to know? Researchers are only just beginning to scratch the surface of understanding how important gut health is for overall wellbeing. Let’s welcome prebiotics to the table.

Like Batman and Robin, probiotics and prebiotics work as a team and help nourish and enhance the gut’s microbiome, home to over 50 trillion bacteria of around 1000 different species. Although we typically think of bacteria as bad, it’s helpful to understand there are good types of bacteria as well, particularly in the gut.

Probiotics are living organisms that may help boost and balance the gut’s good bacteria. This good bacteria aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, plus much more – potentially including brain function. A recent study also looked at the connection between treating children’s’ peanut butter allergies with daily probiotics.

Because the gut encounters plenty of foreign substances every day from the foods we eat, enhancing the good bacteria could help protect and strengthen our immune system’s defences. You’ll find probiotics in some fermented foods, such as cultured yoghurt and sauerkraut, as well as in powder form to add to smoothies and capsule form to take daily.

So where does this leave prebiotics?

Prebiotics are a type of  low digestible fibre found in specific foods, such as artichoke, onion and garlic. It plays an important part in our diet because it feeds probiotics, the good bacteria, in our gut. Feeding the good bacteria may help them thrive and produce favourable effects on the immune system, skin health and digestion, such as reduced bloating.

Fortunately, some researchers think the ‘bad’ bacteria can’t feed on prebiotics, leaving it wide open for the good bacteria. With this in mind, prebiotics may be just as important in our daily diet to help enhance probiotics. You can find prebiotics and probiotics combined in formulas such as Amazonia’s certified organic and vegan Raw Pre-probiotic.

At Flannerys, our qualified Naturopaths provide complimentary advice on health and wellbeing, including gut health. If you’ve been experiencing poor digestive, skin or immune health, come and speak to our Naturopaths who can recommend probiotic and prebiotic products, such as:

  • Healthy Essentials Broad Spectrum Probiotic 10
  • Orthoplex Multiflora
  • Nutrition Care Polybac 8

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