The lining of your intestinal walls is completely covered in microscopic creatures. This is true of every surface of your body, so it shouldn't come as a shock to hear that your gut would as well.
These tiny creatures largely consist of bacteria and other organisms, and together they create a micro-ecosystem known as the microbiome.
The health status of your gut’s microbiome will affect both your physical health and mood. The biggest impact on your microbiome health is what you feed it, so pay attention to what you eat because changing your diet can be the answer to all your gastrointestinal problems.
For instance, when there is a proper bacteria balance in your gut, the good bacteria will prevent any harmful bacteria from spreading. The bacteria can do this by signaling the immune system to work its magic.
People with diets high in either sugar or fat are directly causing harmful bacteria in their gut to overgrow, which can prevent the good bacteria from doing its job.
You can readily achieve a healthy microbiome by nourishing the thousands of various bacteria species present, so a balance in the ecosystem is maintained. Ensuring the balance in your gut involves both prebiotics and probiotics.
Keep reading to find out more about prebiotics and probiotics, so your intestines function at optimal levels.
What Are Prebiotics?
Plant fibers which function as a fertilizer in your gut are known to be prebiotics. They are directly responsible for increasing the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which ensures the peaceful operation of the microbiome.
Various vegetables and fruits come loaded with prebiotics. A sign that a fruit or vegetable has prebiotics is that it contains complex carbohydrates such as fiber.
Your body cannot digest these complex carbohydrates, but don’t worry it won’t cause constipation. The bacteria and microbes present in your digestive system will utilize the carbs as food.
Prebiotics alone do not contain bacteria, hence their role as a fertilizer. Their sole purpose is to provide fuel for the bacteria in your microbiome.
Which Foods Are Prebiotic?
Are There Prebiotic Supplements?
With the plethora of prebiotic food options, you might wonder as to why anyone would want to take the supplement form?
Those who require a specific isolated prebiotic fiber will find that consuming fruits and vegetables won’t get the job done since with each food you have a diverse and plentiful amount of fiber. By taking the supplement, you don’t have to increase all the fiber strains in your gut, only a few of them.
The USDA recommends that you consume 5 to 25 grams of prebiotic fiber a day, and a supplement is a guaranteed way of achieving that goal.
The best prebiotic supplements include two forms of fiber, which come from the chicory root. If you take a look at the list of prebiotic foods, raw chicory root is on there. This fiber will nourish the bacteria found on the inner and outer part of your colon on top of preventing the spread of harmful bacteria.
What Are Probiotics?
Since prebiotics function as the fertilizer in your microbiome, then it only makes sense that probiotics are the seeds in which more bacteria can grow.
Probiotics contain living organisms, which is the defining trait that separates probiotics from prebiotics. The live organisms in probiotics include particular bacteria strains that directly impact the overall population of healthy microbes in your intestines.
There has been a rise in patients dealing with irritable bowel syndrome turning to probiotics as a means of treatment. Those with chronic bowel problems can switch their diet to include food with more probiotics until the digestive tract has balanced itself out.
You can consume probiotics via food or supplements. There is a formula associated with probiotic supplements that require two families of bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, to replenish your gut and maintain the balance.
However, a single dose of probiotics may contain a variety of microbes, not just those two strains of bacteria.
Many people prefer to consume foods high in probiotics before incorporating the supplements. If your doctor recommends you take probiotic supplements, then you should give it a shot. Supplements are available in either liquid or powder form but need to be kept in a refrigerator, so the bacteria stay alive and reproduce.
List Of Probiotic Foods
Prebiotic vs. Probiotic
Balance is the keyword to associate to prebiotic and probiotic because without balance your digestive tract suffers. You need the right about of prebiotic fiber and probiotics in your diet so there is a constant state of balance in your microbiome.
The only way you’ll comprehend how much of each supplement you need to consume is by understanding the differences between the two.
Difference Between Prebiotic And Probiotic
First off, the role prebiotics play in the digestive system is entirely different from the part that probiotics play. Prebiotics ensure that the good bacteria in your gut is fed, so they continue to grow colonies, while probiotics will replenish the numbers of bacteria present.
Probiotic Bacteria Is Fragile
Each body will have a unique reaction when probiotics are introduced. You can reduce the number of times you have to guess and check which probiotic supplement will be of use to you with the help of a dietician.
A majority of the time in which probiotics are recommended in supplement form is for a patient who has been on antibiotics to the point that the colon needs probiotics to repopulate good bacteria.
Many patients forget that probiotic supplements contain living bacteria. All it takes is to forget the probiotic supplement outside on your kitchen counter for the whole batch to be rendered useless.
Probiotic bacteria are so fragile that even the slightest temperature change for a long time frame can negatively impact the effectiveness of the supplement. Stomach acid, heat, and time work against the fragile nature of probiotic bacteria.
Prebiotic Fiber Is Not Fragile
Prebiotic fiber does not contain any living organisms so that environmental changes won't impact its effectiveness. For example, stomach acid, time, and heat do not affect the overall chemical composition of prebiotic fiber.
This fiber is defined by your body's inability to digest it so that it can withstand any extreme condition. Prebiotic fiber can easily pass through your stomach because the low pH level of your stomach acid will do nothing to break apart the fiber itself.
Also, fermenting prebiotic fiber does not depend on the specific person consuming it, so you don't have to fret about having an adverse reaction.
Health Benefits Of Prebiotics And Probiotics
The only definite way to positively impact your digestive system is to make proper use of the dynamic duo: prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics, which support healthy bacteria, and probiotics, which introduce healthy bacteria, have a synergistic working relationship that keeps your gut health on point.
You want to incorporate prebiotics for breakfast and lunch and save probiotics for dinner. The buildup of fiber and the flood of new bacteria will enhance and improve your gastrointestinal health while you sleep.
Combining prebiotics and probiotics results in synbiotics. For example, eating beans with a side of pickles is an excellent way to get the health benefits of both in one setting.
A healthy gut translates to a sound body and mind, so it’s safe to say that prebiotics and probiotics indirectly play a role in the overall maintenance and practicality of your body’s systems.
Statistics published by the National Health Interview Survey states that about 4 million adults have taken advantage of probiotics to address a health problem. In the United States, fours time as much adults used probiotics or prebiotic in 2012 than they did in 2007. This is less than 2 percent of the overall US population.
When it comes to children, probiotics and prebiotics made the list for being one of the top three natural products consumed in 2012. Some evidence suggests that these supplements can reduce diarrhea in children. Ultimately, prebiotics and probiotics can do much more for adults, which is why so many rely on them.
Adults dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, common cold, diarrhea, and allergic disorders can turn to prebiotics and probiotics as a valid form of treatment. In some cases, doctors recommend consuming these supplements to obese patients to help them naturally lose weight.
Nowadays, researchers are exploring ways that prebiotics and probiotics can be utilized to prevent cancer from spreading.
Understanding more about the needs of your body and nourishing them is a sure way to live a long life. This includes comprehending the mechanisms of your digestive system, and the steps you could take to ensure that it runs smoothly for as long as possible.
As you can see, prebiotics and probiotics each have a say in how well your gastrointestinal tract could function. When you start to consume some form of prebiotics and probiotics with every meal, you’ll notice the difference in your digestive system immediately take hold- starting with your bowel movement.