If you have read into gut health, you have undoubtedly heard of prebiotics and probiotics, two buzzwords in the health game of late. But what are they, and how can you ensure you get adequate amounts? Read on to find out.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that naturally live in the gut. These include various bacteria and yeasts. They are popularly referred to as "good bacteria" that balance out the "bad bacteria" that also exist in the gut. Probiotics may aid in boosting immunity and gastrointestinal health, as well as managing the symptoms of certain disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, like irritable bowel syndrome or traveller's diarrhoea.
Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates from plant fibre. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria when ingested, promoting their growth in the gastrointestinal tract. The difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that while probiotics help ensure your gut remains healthy, prebiotics supports probiotic health and proliferation.
Recognised probiotics include over 50 species of Lactobacillus, 30 species of Bifidobacterium, yeasts like Saccharomyces spp, and other bacteria.
These can be found in through a variety of fermented foods, including:
• Miso soup
• Sourdough bread
• Cottage cheese
Prebiotics include inulin, pectin, and resistant starches and sources of these include:
• Apple skin
Products that combine both probiotics and prebiotics are referred to as synbiotics. In terms of diet, you may combine foods that are sources of either prebiotics or probiotics. For instance, you can try mixing bananas with your yogurt, or having a breakfast of berries and oats alongside a slice of sourdough bread.
Getting the probiotics you need only through food can be challenging, so supplementing is a great option. Here are some supplements you can consider to support gut health:
If you're opting for supplement-based probiotics, go for the ones that contain helpful microorganisms like L. rhamnosus, B. Lactis, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
L. rhamnosus has been found to affect the population of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract positively and protect against degenerative disease.
On the other hand, Lactobacillus can improve gastrointestinal barrier function and inhibit harmful bacteria.
Saccharomyces boulardii has been found to be helpful in the treatment of diarrheal conditions that are caused by bacteria, such as traveller's diarrhoea. It may also help improve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
Zinc supports gut health by playing a role in strengthening the gastrointestinal epithelial barrier function. A deficiency in zinc helps give rise to various gastrointestinal disorders. Good food sources of zinc include liver and kidney from beef and poultry, eggs, beans, and lentils, such as soy, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
Curcumin is one of the active ingredients found in turmeric, which is typically used as a spice, and in curry. Curcumin supports the growth of good bacteria strains such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. It also promotes the reduction of certain bad bacteria. Curcumin has also been found to reduce intestinal inflammation.
Probiotics and prebiotics are both important to support gut health. But while the best source of probiotics and prebiotics is healthy foods, it helps to support your diet with supplementation. Try Vitable vitamins and create your own daily vitamin packs. These packs contain personalised supplements specifically for your health needs. Have your subscription vitamins brought right to your doorstep through our vitamin delivery service in Australia.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with below and take our quiz today to find the right vitamins for your health goals and lifestyle.
*Always read the label and follow directions for use. If you experience any symptoms or if symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.