synbiotics

Prebiotics vs Probiotics

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By Jesse Rodriguez

Gut bacteria has been a trend lately, and there is a good reason why its talked about but what is gut bacteria? And why is it good?

Let’s talk about the bacteria in our gut. Our bodies contain about 100 trillion bacteria living in our gut, also known as Microbiome. Microbiome synthesize neurotransmitters that communicate to the brain impacting our immune system, brain, weight, and mood. It’s also important to know that one’s genetics, diet, and environment influence these microbes.

Many people have heard about prebiotic and probiotic but what are they? Both are found in supplements but there’s no need to cash in on these supplements when they’re readily available in our everyday foods.

  • Prebiotic – “nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, thus improving host health”
  • Probiotic – “live microorganisms (i.e bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) intended to promote health benefits”

Simply put, prebiotics promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut while probiotics are the good bacteria that live in the gut; prebiotics are the food for probiotics. They work together to improve GI health, enhance calcium absorption, boost immunity, and overall health and wellbeing. As a result, they may positively impact your health which then affects performance ultimately affecting your goals. Because prebiotics are fiber, adequate intake has been shown to:

  • Control appetite
  • Control development of Type II diabetes
  • Regulate body weight
  • Alleviate inflammation, typically irritable bowel syndrome

Because these are found in many foods, here is a list of common foods containing prebiotics and probiotics or containing both, called synbiotics:

Prebiotic foods:

  • Bananas
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Soybeans
  • Oats
  • Wheat
  • Leeks
  • Chicory

Probiotic Foods:

  • Yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Pickles
  • Green Peas
  • Kefir products
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Natto

Synbiotic Foods:

  • Yogurt + Honey
  • Yogurt + Banana
  • Oats + Dark Chocolate
  • Legumes + Pickles
  • Miso Soup + Garlic

Incorporate these meals into your diet as a snack or dinner to increase your overall wellbeing.

(2016) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitaminsand-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-the-dynamic-duo

Ho, N., & Prasad, V. (2013). Probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics and naturally fermented foods: why more may be more. Annals of Gastroenterology : Quarterly Publication of the Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology, 26(3), 277–278.

Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417– 1435. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041417

 

 

Jesse Rodriguez is a nutritional science major with an emphasis in sports nutrition. Jesse swam for the El Salvador national team and competed at the international level. Jesse is currently working towards a CSCS and registered dietitian license. He currently works at UCLA as a sports nutrition intern assisting both dietitians with meal plans, body composition, and education materials. Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.