Prebiotics and probiotics have become a substantial part of gut health and nutrition. If you thought they were the same thing, you’re not alone.

Probiotics and prebiotics both support the ecosystem made of the trillions of bacteria that colonize our gut. Probiotics include the nearly 1,000 species of beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics are fibres that feed and nourish them.

What are Prebiotics & Probiotics and Why Do We Need Them?

Both play essential yet different roles for our gut health. More importantly, prebiotics and probiotics are mutually dependent on each other in maintaining good gut health.

Prebiotics are plant fibres or complex carbohydrates that the human body cannot digest. They act like fertilizers that fuel the growth of healthy microbes in your gut. While all prebiotics are fibres, not all fibres are prebiotic. Adding more fibre to our diets is essential, but adding prebiotic fibre is imperative to gut health. Whole foods rich in fibre and whole plant prebiotic fibre supplements are the best sources of prebiotics. Probiotics are living micro-organisms found in different foods and also in supplements. They add to the population of beneficial microbes in your gut. When probiotics eat the prebiotic fibre, the food is fermented in the stomach and produces nutrients that nourish the whole body. That’s why the living organisms inside our gut need healthy, minimally processed fibre and food to nurture them to help them do their jobs.

How Can I Maintain a Healthy Gut?

Getting enough fibre is vital to support healthy digestion and support our microbiome.  After all, the gut is the powerhouse for the whole body. On the other hand, a diet high in processed foods and sugar negatively impacts gut bacteria and multiplies bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal digestive system. A balanced gut microbiome where good bacteria are abundant is essential for good gut health.

In the battle for good bacteria, prebiotics and probiotics work together. Prebiotics are the multipliers, the promoters, and the supporters for probiotics. The good bacteria in your gut play a crucial role in fighting off harmful pathogens and fungi. They also boost your immune system, help manage appetite and fight off harmful disease.

Prebiotics are primarily found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Some foods that are high in dietary prebiotic fibre are beans, peas, legumes, oats, bananas, garlic, and onions. Prebiotic fibre supplements are another source to meet your fibre needs. Fermented foods are an excellent source for probiotics, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, kefir, and unpasteurized pickles contain beneficial bacteria for your gut.

Is Taking Probiotics Alone Enough?

The aisles are filled with many types of probiotics, but what’s powering these important probiotics? As we learn more about the importance of our gut bacteria, the first thing most of us reach for is a probiotic supplement — and that is where we make the biggest mistake. Probiotics are powerless without their food, the prebiotics. Additionally, the odds of the probiotics actually reaching our digestive system is pretty low, and their chance of survival is even lower without proper nourishment. Studies show that probiotics can do more harm than good if we are not already consuming a fibre-rich diet. Rather than ingesting expensive probiotics, creating a suitable environment for the microbes in your guts to thrive in is the smarter thing to do.

Do I Need to Take Prebiotic Supplements?

The recommended daily requirement of fibre is 25-30 grams. It is also recommended to take at least 3- 5 grams of prebiotic fibre per day. Needless to say, most of us do not meet the target with our lifestyle choices. In fact, a study shows that 95% of North Americans do not meet the daily recommended intake of fibre.

What we eat is shaped by our busy lifestyles and commonly lacks a rich diet of whole nutrient-dense foods. We also lack sufficient prebiotics for many reasons, including intolerances and sensitivities to carbohydrates, fibres and many prebiotic foods. Introducing a whole food prebiotic fibre to add to our food can promote micro-organisms that boost the immune system and improve digestion. Supplementing with a minimally processed prebiotic containing both soluble and insoluble fibre helps with digestive issues and feeds the good bacteria in the gut.

Our happiGut whole food prebiotic fibre is a superfood for the gut. It is an all-natural fibre with nothing added and chalked full of nutrients straight from the sugarcane plant (sugar removed). happiGut whole food prebiotic taken in powder form makes it easy to use every day. You can add happiGut prebiotic fibre to a variety of meals and drinks-making it even easier to incorporate into your diet. The gateway to a happier gut is with a superfood for your gut bacteria.

How to Get the Most Out of Prebiotics?

Prebiotic fibre works best when taken every day. Make it a part of your routine by taking it simultaneously with other supplements. You can also add it to your cereal or take it before meals, whichever time is most convenient for you and your lifestyle is the best time to take your prebiotics. Probiotic supplements, coupled with their prebiotic food source, create a symbiotic effect that restores gut health and can prevent and support many health conditions.

Eating a balanced diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics is non-negotiable to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With all the efforts you make to keep your body healthy and nourished, adding a prebiotic supplement to give your body the daily dose of fibre it needs is the next step towards a healthier, happier life.