What are prebiotics and probiotics and the differences between them
What are Prebiotics?
Most prebiotics are dietary fibres. Prebiotic fibres act as a good source of food for the important bacteria living in your gut and help increase the levels of those. A higher level of important bacteria living in the gut supports digestive health.
Food with added prebiotics and prebiotic supplements are a good way to increase the prebiotic intake.
There are no dietary reference values for prebiotics, however the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) give a daily recommendation of 3-5 grams.
Monitoring prebiotic intake can be difficult as ‘prebiotic’ values are rarely communicated on food packaging. Learning to recognise prebiotic ingredients may help, for example chicory root fibre/inulin. And, as most prebiotics are dietary fibres, increasing intake of fibre-rich foods is another way of helping to boost prebiotic intake.
Remember that not all dietary fibres are prebiotics.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics in contrast to prebiotics are special live bacteria that, when administered in adequate amounts and a viable form, provide a health benefit. Probiotics are often referred to as “good bacteria”. They work together with the trillions of bacteria that are already present in the gut. Probiotics can be found in some fermented foods, added to food or come in supplement form.