Prebiotics VS Probiotics
Let's talk about probiotics vs prebiotic. How are they different and is one more important than the other?
Let's start with prebiotics. I feel probiotics are probably the lesser known of the two. Probiotics have been talked a lot about in the media and probably by your doctors but probiotics are just as important. So what is a prebiotic? This is the food for all those little prebiotic bacteria. Let's remember those little guys are alive as well and likewise need fuel themselves. This fuel comes in the form of FIBER!! More specifically soluble fiber. Soluble fiber lives in the large intestine and starts to dissolve in water and thus turns into the wonderful fermented treats for your gut bacteria. So a diet high in fiber translates to a diet that is higher in probiotics and that means food to keep the bacterial mob happy!!
That brings us to probiotics. Our guts have thousands and thousands of bacteria living in our guts and they do lots to help us out. Fist they help protect our colon from harmful microbes and foreign organisms and supporting our immune system, they help us absorb nutrients, and produce certain vitamins and hormones like serotonin, and there is newer research supporting the fact that these bacteria influence our mental and emotional health as well. So as you can see these little guys are really busy. So probiotics are foods or supplements that we use to try to introduce more of these bacteria to the family. Usually, we eat fermented foods in a capsule. The tricky part about probiotics is that they are living organism and they can die off without the right environment or they can be killed in stomach trying to make it to the colon. So a couple things to remember are when buying a probiotic that is in a capsule look for ones that are refrigerated, if possible look for enteric coated, its a special coating to try to protect it from the stomach acid, and if possible get a capsule that contains a high number of bacteria, which will increase the odds that something will survive. Or go for the fermented foods!
So I personally think that if you want to simply try to maintain a healthy gut population start by adding some prebiotic to your life!! Feed them, feed them, feed them!! If you have had too many antibiotics in your life, or struggling with a specific intestinal condition and are trying to rebuild the population of bacteria I would say do both pre and probiotics!! Feed them to keep them happy. Check out the link below for a FREE PDF of good pre and probiotic foods.
Like with everything though listen to your body and what it can handle. There are foods that are great probiotic foods but can irritate some conditions, like dairy for example, and the same for some prebiotic foods, like wheat. So listen to your body and your specific needs.
Happy belly! Happy mind!
If you would like to know some more information about how acupuncture can help with your digestive heath click here!
Heres the link! file:///Users/nourishingenergy/Downloads/Add%20heading.pdf