What’s the Difference Between Prebiotics & Probiotics?

Thought there were only probiotics to balance your gut health? Well, there’s also prebiotics which are also very important. If you have a supplement that you currently take you’ll want to see if both prebiotics and probiotics are included on the ingredient label. Otherwise, you’ll want to check out the foods listed below.

Why is it Important?

The reason why we are focusing on the gut/stomach is because of the important role that it plays in delivering nutrients throughout your body to all different organs in order for them to function properly.

“The human gut is home to a microbial population of staggering diversity. Each of us has 100 trillion microbes in our body at any given time, most of them in our lower intestines. Together, they weigh two pounds or more. The microbial genes in our bodies outnumber our human DNA by a factor of 100 to 1.”¹

There have been research studies that can link an imbalance in your gut bacteria or microbiome to gastrointestinal disorders like Celiac disease and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). There have also been links to Diabetes (type 2), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Autism, and more.

The healthier your gut, the healthier the person. Ways we can try to contribute to the balance of the right kinds of bacteria and bugs we need to survive, you’ll want to start with a healthy balanced diet and exercise.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics can be found in the following foods:

  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Bananas
  • Garlic
  • Chicory root
  • Apples
  • Jicama
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Yams

Prebiotics refer to fiber which a carbohydrate that isn’t digestible in the stomach. These foods provide a food source to healthy bacteria in the stomach, but are later broken down in the large colon through fermentation.

By eating foods like the above mentioned items, this helps increase the number of probiotics or good bacteria that are needed for everything in the digestive system to function properly.

What are Probiotics? 

Probiotics are living organisms which include bacteria or yeast. These are digestible in the stomach and are created by the fermentation of food. Probiotics help your immune system stay healthy and can also help with some colon infections/diarrhea/irritable bowel issues.

The foods that have live cultures/probiotics in them include:

  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Aged Cheese
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

Kombucha is my thing, I’m a super fan since my brother introduced me to it about a year ago. My brother lives in San Antonio and his friend actually makes and brews Kombucha at home and bottles it up and sells it to local grocery stores… Shout out to H-E-B for supporting small business! I will have to admit, it’s an acquired taste, but it does the job.

Kombucha is fermented tea and can be infused with various flavors for taste purposes. This helps kill off the bad bacteria in the stomach and promote growth of healthy bacteria instead.

Once the tea is made, it’s left to sit and ferment for about a week and it develops this film of bacteria which is called the scoby. The scoby is used to continue batching and making new fermented tea.

This is probably the grossest thing you’ll hear today, so skip on to the next if you have a sensitive gag reflex 😉 But… the bigger the booger the better when it comes to this tea. It has some of the scoby that usually settles to the bottom of the bottle, that’s the stuff you want to drink for sure. So if you get quite a lot of “boogers” in your glass, that’s a good thing! Don’t throw it out.

Kefir is a type of fermented milk drink. I cannot even choke down saying that let alone actually try it. I haven’t tried it because I’ve had spoiled milk before and puked instantly. But.. I guess I can’t knock it til I try it. If you’ve tried Kefir and like a particular brand let me know and I’ll give it a good Girl Scout try 🙂

Kimchi is usually made with cabbage as it’s base, it’s a Korean side dish. It has various spices in it but also contains probiotics.

Miso & Tempeh are soybean products. I am avoiding soy like the plague because it makes my brain go rapid fire crazy with my ADD.

Alrighty y’all, I think that’s a wrap for today. If you have any questions feel free to drop your comment below. A reminder, before starting any supplements or meal plan changes please consult with your physician first.

For those that aren’t in the Healthy Family Advocate Community I would love for you to join so we can get a chance to connect! That is where my readers get all the inside scoop there is to share! I’ll chat with you again on Friday, have a great rest of the day.


Your Advocate for Health & Hope

¹ John Hopkins Health Review

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