Probiotics and Prebiotics: What They Are and Why They’re Good For You

You’ve probably heard that probiotics and prebiotics are helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive system. But how do they work, and what’s the best way to incorporate them in a healthy diet? Today, we're shedding light on this trending natural health product.

Probiotics are living bacteria, and are also referred to as our good gut bacteria. They offer a host of health benefits, such as helping to re-establish your intestinal gut flora after it’s thrown off from illness, as well as keeping your immune system primed. Great sources that are rich in probiotics include many yogurts and fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir.

Making sure your digestive system is well maintained by probiotics also helps improve your body’s immunity, meaning you’ll be able to fight off invading bugs that can cause common digestive problems like diarrhea and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, according to studies. Our in-house holistic nutritionist Michelle W. Book explains how probiotics help with your digestion in this video below.

 

Prebiotics are just as important, but unlike probiotics they’re not live bacteria. Prebiotics is the term used for non-digestible fibres that act as food supply for probiotics. This means that we should be eating foods that are rich in prebiotics to keep our body’s gut healthy, which in turn keeps our overall systems running smoothly.

Common foods that are rich in prebiotics are whole grains, garlic, onions, and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. If you’re having trouble getting enough probiotics or prebiotics from your diet, consider supplementation.

You can easily tell which supplements contain quality probiotics and prebiotics by looking for the eight-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label, which means Health Canada has reviewed and approved the product for high quality. Check with your health care practitioner to see what’s best for you, and head to your local CHFA Member health food store to find a variety of options.