Does anyone know, without googling, the difference between prebiotic and probiotic? I didn’t either until the other day when I was in a vitamin store looking for multivitamins and the store clerk dropped some knowledge on me. And in more recent years it seems the word probiotics blew up. I got a grasp of what probiotics were in my microbiology class because if we were working with microorganisms we had to know what they were and where they come from. We learned that 90% of the human body is made up of microbes, that’s right 90%. If we’re looking to become a more healthy human it would be safe to say that starting with our microbiome is imperative.
The microbes I’m referring to more specifically for this post are the ones in our intestines or gut because these are the ones that absorb the food we eat and turn it into nutrients for our body’s needs. Not only that but studies have shown that the gut bacteria actually ‘talk’ to your brain and tell it what to crave and eat. So if the ‘bad’ bacteria take over your gut you’ll eat more of what’s bad for you. And on the other side if your ‘good’ bacteria are flourishing your brain will tell you to eat more of that. So besides forming better eating habits, how do we control the ‘good’ bacteria in our gut? The answer is through probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are the live microogranisms that help the gut. These are found in pill form and can be taken as a supplement or in fermented foods or drink like kimchi or kombucha. Probiotics help to replenish the much needed ‘good’ bacteria but they are not organically grown by the body.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) (Wikipedia, 2017). You can ingest prebiotics as a supplement in the form of non-digestible fiber or in raw foods like asparagus, chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke to name a few.
In case you’re a visual person like me, another way to explain it.
I originally got inspired to write this blog because at first, years ago, the connection that what I ate made a difference in my body just wasn’t clear for me. I figured that if I eat good most of the time I could still eat fast food with no repercussions. But I was totally wrong. Bad eating habits can completely wipe out your ‘good’ bacteria and this can cause many other health issues, like mental health issues, skin problems and autoimmune diseases. I changed my diet within the past 2 years incorporating less meat and more vegetables, which I love and works for me. But then I would and still have these moments when I crave junk or fast food. And I would always think to myself ‘why does my body want this type of food?’ Is my body rebelling against me? Why does all the unhealthy food only sound good?! And it now makes sense to me; the ‘bad’ bacteria are winning the food battle over the ‘good’ bacteria. Solution; replenish and feed the ‘good’ bacteria through probiotics and prebiotics. None of the changes happen overnight but I’m glad to be on the right path and aware of the food I eat. And that’s just it once you’re aware you can make more conscious decisions and develop eating habits that benefit your health not take away from it.
To your health!