With gut health trending, discussions surrounding the topic probiotic and prebiotics always seemingly follows closely behind. Despite their similar sounding names both play an extremely different role within the health of your gut.
What are probiotics and prebiotics?
Probiotics: are the live beneficial bacteria that live within your gut. These can be found within certain foods or found in supplements. Foods include: Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Miso, Kefir (dairy and non-dairy), pickled vegetables, Tempeh, Fermented Foods. (Note: These products must be unpasteurised in order to have the probiotics)
Prebiotics are foods that feed the bacteria. Coming from different plant fibres, stimulating the growth of the good bacteria Foods include: Onions, Garlic, Bananas, Berries, Beans, Legumes, Oats, Leeks, Apple (skins), Chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, Asparagus.
Should you take a probiotic supplement?
A big misconception is that one probiotic pill a day is going to magically improve the health of your gut. There are many different types of probiotics which have different quantities of different strains of bacteria and there is most certainly a time and place when using supplements can potentially be beneficial to support your health (especially following antibiotic therapy). The type of bacteria, quantity and quality vary across different brands. To ensure you are getting the right supplement for yourself it is important to research and find the right bacteria strain that will help address the health issues you are wanting to improve. NICE guidelines states the use of a probiotic supplement for a 4-week period. They should be used to help support your diet and not in place of the pro/prebiotic food sources. If in doubt talk to your health care provider. Note: Make sure you keep your probiotics cool (preferably in a refrigerator) as heat will kill the living bacteria.
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