Which foods are better: Prebiotics, or Probiotics? Trick question, you can’t have one without the other! The real answer may shock you though, because probiotics are living organisms in foods, and prebiotics are a non-digestible carbohydrate (like fiber) that feed the probiotics.
When you get probiotics into your system by eating yogurt, fermented foods, and some cheeses, these living bacteria or yeast organisms help ease diarrhea, IBS, and some intestinal infections. Probiotics have also been known to lessen the severity of colds and the flu.
Probiotic bacteria will always help improve and balance your intestines. And that bacteria needs food–which is where prebiotics come in. Not only will prebiotics help probiotics multiply and do their job, but they will strengthen your immune system as well.
From improving gut health to enhancing your immune system and even inhibiting cancer, these prebiotic foods will keep your system running smoothly. Prebiotics are also a way of preventing weight gain and improving regularity.
In 91 percent of human trials, prebiotics have reduced the symptoms of bowel related issues like colitis, Crohn’s disease, IBS, and celiac disease. Of course everything you put in your mouth travels the intestinal path, so by adding prebiotics to your diet you’ll be strengthening your gut.
15 Best Prebiotic Foods
Chicory root, jerusalem artichoke and dandelions are some of the highest sources of prebiotics, but for something with an easier taste, there are 12 other delicious foods on this list:
Coconut meat and flour
Flax and chia seeds
The 3 Types
There are 3 main types of prebiotics: inulin, oligosaccharide, and arabinogalactans. These polysaccharides are multiple carbohydrate molecules chained together. Your body doesn’t digest them–instead, it wants to increase and maintain their population.
The more “good bacteria” you’ve got in your body the better. The different kind of prebiotics are programed to operate at different parts of the colon, making your entire intestine happy and healthy. Not just your intestine, but your entire body.
With an increased amount of prebiotic and probiotic material your body will be better able to fight off the bad bacteria and infectious yeast that lead to a number of negative health issues. The healthy bacteria work to decrease inflammation that makes it easier for bad bacteria to thrive.
One particular reason to up your prebiotic intake is if you have been on antibiotics recently or plan to take them soon. Antibiotics deplete your system of microbial populations, which may completely get rid of the good bacteria. If you don’t strengthen your gut, bad bacteria will move in and have a chance to multiply and leave you in worse shape than you were before taking the antibiotics.
So if you’re looking to fortify your intestinal walls, improve gut and overall health, and boost a healthy immune system, fill up on probiotics and feed them prebiotics. If 15 foods weren’t enough, here are a few more ways to increase your prebiotic count:
Apples, berries, and mangoes are all sources of prebiotics.
artichokes, cucumbers, bell peppers, beets, and cabbage weren’t mentioned in the list above.
honey, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, wild rice, and ginger root are also good sources of prebiotics.