Probiotics and Prebiotics

gi health gut health prebiotics probiotics Apr 14, 2023

Katie Breazeale, MS, RD, LD


Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components that are linked to promoting the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut. Simply said, they're "good" bacteria promoters.


Prebiotics include fructooligosaccharides, such as inulin and galactooligosaccharides. Include more prebiotics in your diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods.


Probiotics are the "good" bacteria — or live cultures — just like those naturally found in your gut. These active cultures help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora. This functional component may boost immunity and overall health, especially GI health. 


To obtain more probiotics, look to fermented dairy foods including yogurt, kefir products and aged cheeses, which contain live cultures (for example, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli). Be sure to include plenty of non-dairy foods which also have beneficial cultures, including kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts.


Top Probiotics: 

           Smart Belly Men’s & Women’s Daily

           Probiotics One Daily Support

           Dr. Natura Flora Protect

           Probium Probiotics Multi Blend 12B

           Garden of Life primal Defense Ultra

           Align Probiotic

           Culturelle probiotic


           Digestive Advantage

           Enzymatic Therapy Acidophilus Pearls





Ultimately, prebiotics, or "good" bacteria promoters, and probiotics, or "good" bacteria, work together synergistically. Products that combine these together are called symbiotic. On the menu, that means enjoying bananas atop yogurt or stir-frying asparagus with tempeh is a win-win.


Do you need to be on pre and probiotics? Not necessarily. Prebiotics you will get from a healthy diet full of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. As for the probiotic, it could be beneficial when taking antibiotics, and they may help regulate the immune system. 


There is also research regarding probiotics and weight loss. Probiotics appear to influence appetite and the energy usage of fatty acids. The thought behind this is that probiotics would inhibit how much fat was absorbed. The Lactobacillus family is one of the most popular strands studied in research for weight loss. Research shows positive results in the effectiveness of taking a probiotic and reducing weight and belly fat.


Probiotics help with releasing appetite regulating hormones and increase levels of fat-regulating hormones. What does this mean? Increased calories burned and decreased fat storage. Also, if you have a happy gut, you may also see a reduction in inflammation and other diseases. They can improve your digestive health and cardiovascular risk factors, reduce inflammation, and even help fight depression and anxiety.

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