You may have heard the terms 'Prebiotic' and 'Probiotic' before, but what's the difference exactly?
Let's Start with Prebiotics...
Prebiotics are foods that can't be digested by the body, but promote the growth of healthy micro organisms in the intestines, (including Probiotics). Prebiotics are a type of fibre, but not all fibre is prebiotic.
In other words, Prebiotics are types of fibre that can't be digested by the body but help push your food through your intestines and feed the Probiotics in your gut!
There are many Prebitoics, but the 3 most common are...
- Resistant Starches
Help with water and electrolyte absorption, immune system functionality and anti-inflammation. How you cook the food can impact the level of resistant starches in the food.
For example, potatoes have less resistant starch when you bake them. But when you boil them and cool them down, the white, starchy film that appears is the resistant starch you want.
Foods with Resistant Starches include:
- Boiled and chilled potatoes.
- Green bananas
Is a prebiotic fibre found in many plants. It can help you feel fuller for longer, lessing the desire to eat more. Inulin can assist decreasing LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), help stabilize blood sugars while increasing and boosting the good bacteria in your gut.
Foods with Inulin include:
Pectin is a starch found in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables. It's found in a variety of different plant and plant based foods.
Pectin has antioxidants, plus it can benefit the skin cells of your intestinal lining and decrease the ability for diseases to take root.
Foods with Pectin include:
- Citrus fruit pulp and peel
What are other benefits of Prebiotics?
Help regulate bowel movements
Stimulate your body to make hormones that aid in appetite, appetite suppression
- Improve the function of your immune system
- Enhance your body’s anti-inflammatory response
- Increase production of good bacteria and decrease bad bacteria that causes disease
So what about Probiotics?...
Probiotics on the other hand are made of good live bacteria that naturally live in your body.
Probiotics (good bacteria) work to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better. Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation.
Two common types of Probiotics are...
- Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that produces lactic acid from the fermentation of carbohydrates. Lactobacillus can also help the body metabolise and break down lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy foods.
- Bifidobacterium is another bacteria that lives in the intestines. 'Good' bacteria such as bifidobacteria can help break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off "bad" organisms that may contribute to sickness.
Foods that are naturally high in Probiotics are usually fermented and include:
- cottage cheese
- sourdough bread
More health benefits of Probiotics include...
- Assisting your body with digesting food
- Prevent the good/bad bacteria balance getting out of control and making you ill
- Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed (through food or drinks) from entering your blood
- Assisting your body to breakdown and absorb medications
So there you have it! You've learnt...
- The difference between Prebiotics and Probiotics - Prebiotics feed Probiotics
- Foods that contain them
- The health benefits of each
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition. It is not medical advice and is general in nature. Consult your doctor before commencing any new exercise or diet program.
Dylan, Founder @ Hits Different
PN Level 1 Certified