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By Samantha Stobo

Prebiotics & Probiotics – Why and How They Work Together

You’ve probably heard about probiotics by now. Everyone is talking about their numerous benefits for your gut’s health. But it’s important to know exactly what they are and what their role is. Not to mention that people usually omit to talk about equally important prebiotics. The truth is that prebiotics are the fuel that makes probiotics thrive. So, you shouldn’t underestimate their role. Now, to help you understand this better, here’s a guide on prebiotics & probiotics – why and how they work together.

 

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the good bacteria that live inside your body and help you stay healthy. These bacteria help you fight off harmful bacteria. And while they are primarily found in your gut, they also live in other parts of your body. For example, the urinary tract, the skin, the lungs, and the mouth. Here are some of the most important roles of probiotics:

 

  • They make sure your immune system works properly;
  • They help your body break down and digest food;
  • They ensure the overall health of your gut;
  • They can lower blood pressure;
  • They can even positively affect your memory and mood since they regulate and stimulate the production of certain hormones.

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are the fuel of probiotics. Why is that? Because they are non-digestible fibers that feed the good bacteria, thus helping them grow and thrive. And the main reason for this is that your body can’t break them down straight away. Prebiotics are generally found in plant-based foods. Here are some of the most important roles of prebiotics:

 

  • They improve mineral absorption;
  • They have anti-inflammatory effects;
  • They can regulate blood sugar levels;
  • They can help you lose weight by making you feel full longer;
  • They improve bone health by enhancing mineral absorption.

 

Prebiotics & probiotics – why and how they work together?

As you’ve seen, both prebiotics and probiotics have many health benefits. And since probiotics feed on prebiotics, it’s clear that you need both if you want to stay healthy. And it’s not just about keeping your gut happy. Let’s look at some of the other benefits of combining these two.

Sleep better and reduce your stress levels

Research shows that your gut microbiome influences your body’s internal clock. Therefore, you should first take care of your gut health to avoid sleep problems. This means you should include more prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, your gut health influences your combat anxiety and depression.

 A woman getting some quality sleep.

Caption: Prebiotics & probiotics – why and how they work together? By helping you avoid sleep problems. 

Keep your hunger hormone under control

The so-called hunger hormone, a.k.a. ghrelin, stimulates your appetite and increases fat storage and food intake. The main role of this hormone is to signal to you that your body needs more energy and, therefore, that you need to eat. The problem is that there is a direct link between the quality of your sleep and the production of this hormone. Specifically, poor sleep will increase the production of ghrelin, making your brain think you need to eat more.

 

Therefore, ensuring you get enough prebiotics and probiotics will prevent sleep problems and the excess production of the hunger hormone. Plus, this can even help you lose weight because combining prebiotics and probiotics will make you feel full longer. It also regulates your blood sugar levels, which in turn controls the production of ghrelin.

A woman that lost a lot of weight and whose pants no longer fit her.

Caption: A balanced combination of prebiotics and probiotics will make you feel full longer and thus help you lose weight. 

Keep your bones strong

Apart from enhancing mineral absorption, prebiotic and probiotic foods are also rich in magnesium. And this will undoubtedly improve your bone health. Moreover, studies show that these foods can also reduce bone loss, increase bone formation, as well as improve bone density. So, as you can see, it’s not just about your gut but your overall health.

 

What are the best sources of prebiotics and probiotics?

Now you have a clear picture in your mind about prebiotics & probiotics – why and how they work together. Therefore, it’s time to learn about the best sources of prebiotics & probiotics so that you can incorporate them into your diet.

 

  • Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, asparagus, beans, as well as bananas, berries, citrus, and many more.
  • Probiotic foods include yoghurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, as well as miso, kimchi, and many more.

 

You should eat these prebiotic and probiotic foods raw if you want to get the most benefits. But, it would help if you also combined them.

 A bowl consisting of raw prebiotic and probiotic foods.

Caption: To get the most benefits, combine prebiotic and probiotic foods and eat them raw.

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t worry too much about this; you’ll find plenty of recipes and ideas on the internet. You just need to do a bit of research. Plus, some planning is helpful, especially for the upcoming stress-inducing activities. For example, if you’re planning a long-distance move, you don’t need the extra stress of having to cook for your family on moving day. And you should also avoid junk food. So, take some time to prepare meals for moving long-distance. Find some simple and healthy recipes, make a grocery list and prepare some easy meals for your relocation.

What about prebiotic and probiotic supplements?

It’s good to know that you can also introduce prebiotic and probiotic supplements into your diet. Surely, it’s highly recommended to consume as many prebiotic and probiotic foods as possible to get the most benefits. And if you are in good health and eat these foods, you probably don’t need supplements.

 

But sometimes, you might need an extra boost. For example, you can use supplements when you’re sick to help restore your immune system faster. Or for treating other health issues such as diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. Plus, it’s also recommended to take prebiotic and probiotic supplements while you’re taking antibiotics.

 

Final thoughts

So, prebiotics & probiotics – why and how they work together? Well, as you’ve seen, they have a wide range of health benefits. And apart from keeping your gut healthy, they also contribute to your overall health. They can help improve the quality of your sleep, reduce stress levels, keep your weight under control and improve your bone health. Therefore, if you want to stay healthy, you must introduce prebiotic and probiotic foods into your diet.

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