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Prebiotic vs. Probiotic: Everything You Need to Know

Prebiotic vs. Probiotic: Everything You Need to Know

You've probably heard about the famous probiotics, haven't you? Indeed, they've been in the spotlight for a few years now, and rightfully so!

Did you know that we're mostly made up of microorganisms, in other words, microbes and bacteria? Among them, some are beneficial to us, while others are opportunistic. Probiotics fall into the benefits category; they're the "good" microbes. Composed of live bacteria, when we regularly consume them, we contribute to the formation of good bacteria in our intestinal flora.

Here are some of the advantages of probiotics:

  • Allow our body to absorb more nutrients
  • Fight infections
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Support healthy digestion and elimination
  • Promote beautiful skin
  • Support the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone (in part why we call the gut the second brain)
  • Protect usagainst allergies, food intolerances, and more

A daily dose of probiotic-rich foods is beneficial for most people. We can get probiotics in the form of supplements or from certain foods. It's very easy to integrate them into our diet. Here are some examples of probiotic-rich foods:

  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut

And what about prebiotics?

Prebiotics are substances fermented by probiotics to produce even more good bacteria. You can think of them as food that makes probiotics even stronger and allows them to multiply! They work in synergy with probiotics to improve the composition of the microbiota. They come from indigestible fibers that reach the colon where they are then fermented.

Here are some of the benefits of prebiotics:

  • Improve digestion
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Help support stable blood sugar levels
  • Regulate hormones and more

All fiber-dense foods contain prebiotics, but some have more than others. Here are a few examples:

  • Acacia powder
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Jicama
  • Asparagus
  • Unripe banana

Several studies have shown that people consuming at least 30 different varieties of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds) per week had the most diverse microbiota and amount of good bacteria.

For my clients, I strongly suggest incorporating at least 1 probiotic and 1 prebiotic food per day. I also like to suggest a fun little family contest: keep track of the number of different plants consumed during the week (one point per plant), and the winner will be the one with the most points!

Now, how can you easily integrate them into your daily life? Here are some simple tips:

  • Mix your yogurt with a variety of fiber sources like nuts, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
  • Add kefir to your protein smoothie
  • Enjoy kombucha instead of a soft drink
  • Serving sauerkraut as a side dish

In conclusion, make sure to have a variety of plant-based foods and maximize different colors on your plate to nourish the good bacteria that make up your inner garden: the famous microbiota. After all, healthy eating is always about balance.

*Quick note: If you react poorly to probiotics and prebiotics, it's always best to consult a healthcare professional.

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