How Probiotics and Prebiotics Work Together

collection of probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods

If you’re familiar with the term “gut health,” you know that keeping it in good condition is beneficial to your overall well-being. From sleep to weight management, it’s a collaborative effort to achieve a healthy gut. Your gut microbiome (the collection of the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in your body) is the foundation of your health. It aids in digestion, absorbs nutrients, and fuels your body. When you have good gut health, you have a balance between the helpful and potentially harmful bacteria and yeast in your digestive system.

Probiotics

Probiotics, the “good” bacteria, are your gut’s best defense in the world of the microbiome. They fight off inflammation and disease and boost your immunity. There are two ways to get more good bacteria into your gut: fermented foods and dietary supplements. Fermented foods are the most natural source and some great options include: Sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt.

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Probiotics offer a multitude of health benefits, such as:

  • Healthy digestion and optimal bowel movements
  • A strong immune system
  • Gut-brain support
  • Improved mood 

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are the non-digestible fiber compounds, or carbohydrates, that help feed probiotics and help them flourish. They’re the fuel that probiotics need to maintain optimal gut health. The health benefits of prebiotics include: 

  • Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production
  • Improved digestive health, including optimal bowel movements 
  • Stronger immune function 
  • Weight loss 

Below are some healthy foods containing prebiotics that you can incorporate into your diet: 

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Seaweed
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New research has shown that getting enough prebiotics in your diet is just as important as probiotics. They work together to improve your overall wellness. Incorporating foods that contain both prebiotics and probiotics helps foster good gut health, as well as better sleep, reduced stress, a more stable blood sugar level, and improved bone health.