Prebiotic and probiotic both deal with the relationship of certain ingredients in a product to bacteria in your gut. Both forms of -biotics improve the levels of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, leading to numerous health benefits. While prebiotics and probiotics are not absolutely required for you to be healthy, they are a great tool in weight control, immune system strength and more.

Biotic means bacteria, just like how antibiotics cause bacteria to die. Both prebiotic and probiotic are associated specifically with bacteria in your gut.

Prebiotics contain material that gut flora digest in order to flourish. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria themselves. Probiotics eat prebiotics.

Why healthy gut flora matters

The benefits of prebiotic and probiotic foods are fairly similar, as they both result in improvements in gut flora. The bacteria living in your gut have a lot of influence on your health both direct and indirect. Studies have shown that gut bacteria help decrease the occurrence of numerous digestive diseases, like diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Gut bacteria are very important beyond your digestive tract, though. Proper levels improve Insulin Efficiency while preventing obesity.

Gut flora can also prevent certain types of cancers, diabetes and more.

Prebiotics: There’s food in your food

Finding prebiotics is pretty easy, you just need plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Prebiotics are simple plant-based materials we can’t digest, but which our gut flora love. You may have heard them called by another name as well: insoluble fiber. That’s right, prebiotics are forms of fiber.

Probiotics: Stayin’ alive

Probiotics can be found in most fermented foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchee. Yogurt is by far the most popular choice in America for probiotics.

However, it’s important to note that not all yogurt is actually probiotic. Many yogurts start with bacteria, which causes the fermentation, but only those listed as containing “live and active cultures” still have living bacteria by the time they reach the supermarket.

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