Peanut butter is good… but it’s better with chocolate! Movies are fun… but movies with popcorn and friends are better! Coffee is delightful. But coffee with something sweet, like pie or a cinnamon roll… dynamite!
Probiotics are beneficial on their own, but when you pair them with prebiotics, the results can be even better. A lot has been made in recent years of the importance of probiotics and a healthy digestive system, as an increasing number of people are becoming aware of how probiotics help to maintain a healthy and balanced gut
For example, did you know that as much as 60% of the body’s immune system is found in the digestive system? Or that the microbial cells in your body actually outnumber the human cells in your body by 10:1?
So, making sure the gut is healthy is important, not just to avoid digestive distress but also for overall body health. And, as an added bonus, probiotics and a healthy gut has a direct correlation to a healthy brain!
Ok, but what about prebiotics? How do prebiotics work to take probiotics to a new level? And what’s the difference between the two?
What’s the Difference in Prebiotics and Probiotics?
I know what you’re thinking… pre comes first. And you’re right! But what does that actually mean and why do you need both?
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) that encourage healthy bacteria to bring stasis to the intestines.
Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that become food for the probiotics.
Just like sourdough starter ferments and becomes the key to an amazing loaf of bread, prebiotics ferment as they pass undigested through the gut and provide amazing fuel for probiotics. Just as John Stockton was a master of “feeding” Karl Malone assists and helping The Mailman always deliver, prebiotics feed probiotics in order to make them better and more productive than they would be on their own.
Are Prebiotics Found in the Same Foods as Probiotics?
Some brands of yogurt are formulated to provide probiotics that survive the digestive tract to benefit immunity and gut health. Other good sources for probiotics include:
- Traditional buttermilk
- Kombucha (fermented tea)
Are you noticing a trend? Many sources of probiotics occur in fermented foods and drinks. Probiotics love fermentation. And while probiotics thrive on fermented foods, you’ll need to add some different food choices to your diet. Oftentimes, raw foods help to promote your body to naturally produce prebiotics. These may include:
- Raw onions
- Raw garlic
- Raw asparagus
- Raw sunchokes
- Underripe bananas
- Raw dandelion greens
Some of these foods may seem initially unappealing. But there are lots of delicious ways to incorporate these prebiotic giants into your daily diet. Cut up raw asparagus and add it to homemade pasta salad for some great texture. Raw garlic is great in homemade salad dressing or hummus. Use raw onions to top a sandwich or incorporate with the dandelion greens as garnish for an amazing salad.
What are the Brain Benefits?
When maximizing the effectiveness of probiotics by adding prebiotics, you may notice unexpected benefits in the brain, such as an improved mood, reduced anxiety, and lowered stress. Additionally, probiotic and prebiotic use could help relieve some symptoms of mild depression.
Studies in Germany and Italy also showed a connection between probiotics and the central nervous system, including improvement in memory tests (both spatial and non-spatial), as well as alleviating some psychiatric disorder symptoms, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
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As with all changes you pursue regarding diet and health, it’s best to consult your doctor, even if you are just considering adding a probiotic supplement. For more information on prebiotics, probiotics, and how they best work together, reach out to us at (888) 549-5519 or open a live online chat!