Difference between prebiotics and probiotics and why are they important for health?

Prebiotics and probiotics are important for human health. However, they have different roles. How can we differentiate between prebiotics and probiotics?

Prebiotic and Probiotic: Difference and importance for health

Prebiotic and Probiotic: Difference and importance for health
 prebiotics and probiotics

What is the importance of prebiotics and probiotics for health? Here's what's good to know about prebiotics and probiotic.

Prebiotics and probiotics are two terms that we hear about frequently in recent years, both in nutrition and in terms of the health of the body in general. Although they sound similar, the two play different roles in our health.


  1. The difference between prebiotics and probiotics
  2. What are the benefits of gut bacteria?
  3. Food and the gut microbiome
  4. What foods naturally contain prebiotics
  5. What foods contain probiotics?
  6. Probiotic supplements

1. The difference between prebiotics and probiotics

Probiotics are infect live bacteria's that are found in specific foods or food supplements. They can provide many health benefits.

Prebiotics are substances produced from different types of carbohydrates (mainly fiber) that humans cannot digest. The beneficial bacteria in the intestines eat this fiber.

Intestinal bacteria, collectively called gut flora or gut microbiota, perform many important functions in the body. Consuming balanced amounts of probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure you have the right balance of these bacteria to keep your gut microbiota healthy.

2. What are the benefits of gut bacteria?

Probiotics are small mini microorganisms their duty is to provide health benefits to their host. Our bodies rely on all kinds of microorganisms to function and keep us healthy, and probiotics play an important role in this.

They support healthy body systems from the mouth to the gut and help control harmful microorganisms such as bacteria. At the right levels, probiotics helps for digestion and they also improve nutrient absorption.

A 2013 study on gut bacteria confirms that a wide variety of this good kind of bacteria can aid immune system function, improve symptoms of depression, and help deal with obesity, among other things.

In addition, some of your gut bacteria produce vitamin K and short-chain fatty acids.

Short-chain fatty acids are the main source of nutrients for the cells lining the large intestine. They create a strong intestinal barrier that helps against harmful substances, viruses and bacteria. It also helps reduce inflammation and may reduce the risk of cancer.

3. Food and the gut microbiome

The food we eat plays an important role in the balance between good and bad gut bacteria.

For example, a diet high in sugar and fat adversely affects gut bacteria and can contribute to insulin resistance and other conditions.

When we regularly feed harmful bacteria, they can grow faster and colonize more easily, especially if there aren't many beneficial bacteria to prevent them.

Harmful bacteria and less healthy gut flora were also associated with a higher body mass index (BMI).

Studies have also demonstrated that using antibiotics during childhood and adolescence can permanently alter some bacteria species.

4. What foods naturally contain prebiotics?

Before you buy expensive probiotic supplements, remember that many foods contain them naturally. This is due to the fact that prebiotics are fibres found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Humans are unable to digest these types of fiber, but good gut bacteria can.

Foods rich in prebiotic fiber include

Foods rich in prebiotic fiber include

  • Legumes, beans and peas
  • Oatmeal
  • bananas
  • Berries
  • artichoke
  • asparagus
  • Arugula and dandelion leaves
  • garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onion

5. What foods contain probiotics?

foods that contains probiotics
foods with probiotics

This is due to the fact that prebiotics are fibres found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes.

A quality plain yogurt with live culture content can be a wonderful addition to your diet if you want to add beneficial bacteria to your microbiome.

Fermented foods are also an excellent choice because they contain beneficial bacteria that feed on the sugar or natural fiber in the food.

Examples of fermented foods include:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • kefir
  • Certain types of pickles (unpasteurized)
  • Other pickled vegetables (not pasteurized)

Make sure the foods are not pasteurized if you plan to consume fermented foods for their probiotic advantages because this destroys the bacteria.

Some of these foods can also be considered symbiotic because they contain both beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic source of fiber for the bacteria to feed on.

Foods that work well together include cheese, kefir, and sauerkraut.

6. Probiotic supplements

Probiotic supplements come in pill, powder, or liquid form that contain live beneficial bacteria or yeast.

They are very popular and easy to find, but not all are equally effective. Not everyone has the same types of bacteria or the same concentrations.

Also, some probiotic supplements do not contain fibrous food sources that the bacteria can eat, which can interfere with their effectiveness if you don't include these foods in your diet as well.

Some probiotic supplements are designed to carry the bacteria to the colon for better effects, while others do not pass the stomach acid.

However, the right probiotic strains may be quite beneficial for some individuals. It depends on the strain type, product formulation, product quality and storage.

As with all supplements, it is always recommended to consult a medical professional.

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