Probiotics and Prebiotics: What Are They Good For?

Probiotics and prebiotics are essential for keeping our guts healthy and working effectively, but what are they exactly? Since the gut is home to trillions of bacteria – both good and bad – it is a balance of gut flora that can be affected by a number of things like the foods we eat, medicines, sleep (and a lack of it), stress, a lack of exercise, and alcohol. So it can help to increase our intake of probiotics and prebiotics in order to avoid getting gastro-intestinal issues which can harm our overall health and mood.

Probiotics are essentially live bacteria that help your own good bacteria function in your gut. They can increase the bacteria population if your good bacteria are low, and generally it’s a good idea to have more probiotics after a course of antibiotics (Queensland Health). The probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are used to treat illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome through reducing symptoms such as bloating and inflammation (Harvard). These particular probiotics help with digestion and restore the gut flora’s levels of good bacteria whilst preventing the growth of harmful bacteria (Harvard). 

Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like yoghurt, cottage cheese, kombucha, pickled vegetables, and kimchi.

Prebiotics, however, are the ‘food’ or carbohydrates/fibre for your gut bacteria that you can’t digest yourself without gut flora. These help provide nutrients to the bacteria that promote digestion and boost your immune system, and since they can’t be digested by our bodies, they move onto the large intestine where they then help to produce an environment that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. 

You can find prebiotics in foods such as onions, garlic, artichokes, bananas, leeks, fruits, vegetables, barley, and whole grains.

While research is ongoing into how the body uses different probiotics and prebiotics, Harvard Health reports that the benefits of probiotics can lessen the symptoms or even prevent illnesses like diarrhoea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), H.pylori (which can cause stomach ulcers), skin irritations and rashes, Crohn’s disease, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

You can also get probiotics and prebiotics through Gutsii’s shake powders which also have vegan proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, all without needing to use multiple powders or supplements. The difference between other probiotic supplements and Gutsii’s shake powders is that we focus on a rounded approach with both probiotics and prebiotics to support your gut health.

Of course you should always consult your doctor if you have gastrointestinal issues and when you make dietary changes.