What’s the difference between probiotics & prebiotics?
Prebiotics and probiotics, although they sound similar, are very different. In the most simplest understanding – Probiotics are beneficial bacteria for the gut. The food that these bacteria consume is called prebiotics.
Both are important for gut health but they serve different purposes.
Prebiotics: They mostly come from carbs (fibers) that humans can not digest. The probiotics contain healthy bacteria, these bacteria eat this fiber.
Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in certain food items like curd or in some food supplements. They provide many health benefits.
What is gut microbiota?
Our gut contains many gut bacteria. They are called gut flora or gut microbiota. They perform very important functions in the body. For a healthy gut, eating both, prebiotics and probiotics is essential. They help ensure that we have the right balance of bacteria to keep the gut flora healthy.
There are many food items that contain prebiotic fiber, for example, oats, fruits like apples, banana(kela), onions, peas, lentils, barley, legumes, garlic, flaxseeds, and coffee. Try to include these in your diet, alternatively, you can also try some supplements if you need.
Probiotics that contain naturally helpful bacteria are yogurt (dahi), green peas, buttermilk, paneer, achaar, Indian dishes like idli and dosa, dhokla, etc. Try to eat these to increase your probiotic intake.
Both probiotics and prebiotics help with improving gut health. Consult with your dietician to help you find the best ones you for and your family!