What’s the Difference? Prebiotics vs. Probiotics & Why You Need Both

What’s the Difference? Prebiotics vs. Probiotics & Why You Need Both

You’ve heard of probiotics, right? Look around any grocery store and you’ll find “probiotic-rich” foods like yogurt and sauerkraut.

But what exactly is it?

Short answer: They’re live bacteria in your gut — and it’s not gross or unhealthy. This live bacteria actually supports your health; you should try to keep your probiotics that live in your gut healthy and alive so they can do their job!

But even probiotics need food.

And that’s where prebiotics come in:  a type of dietary fiber that feed and support the healthy bacteria in your gut.

P.S. The terms prebiotics and probiotics tend to get confused, and with good reason. Check out how similar those words sound! Just keep in mind that PREbiotics feed PRObiotics. Pre feeds Pro. There you go!

Here’s why they’re important:

You know all of the money you spend on kombucha, yogurt, and probiotic supplements?

If you don’t feed and support those live buggers with prebiotics, you are basically wasting your cash.

Think about buying a goldfish and not feeding it fish food. It won’t be a healthy goldfish for a very long time, right?

Probiotics need to be fed just like any other living thing in order to survive. You need to take in enough prebiotics to support your probiotics.  

So how do you get more prebiotics?

If your diet is short on prebiotics, incorporating maple water into your daily routine is a great place to start.

Drink Simple Maple Water naturally contains specific prebiotics called oligosaccharides. 

Oligosaccharides have been shown to be a great food source for certain probiotics, specifically lactobacilli probiotics. More fuel for the probiotics means more viable probiotics. More viable probiotics may mean a more healthy gut and body for you!  

Let’s dig into some of the roles that certain strains of probiotics may play in your body. Keeping these bacteria healthy by taking in prebiotics is key to them doing their important job in your body.

Certain strains of probiotics may:

  1. Help regulate inflammation.
  2. Support the immune response and help keep your immune system healthy.
  3. Support weight loss.
  4. Reduce the risk of a baby developing certain allergies if consumed during pregnancy.
  5. Help reduce symptoms of anxiety in people with clinical depression.

And one more: Once probiotics “eat” the prebiotics, it turns into a short-chain fatty acid that has been shown to block the growth of cancer cells while supporting the growth of healthy cells. 

Ensuring that your intake of prebiotics supports the healthy bacteria in your gut is important if you are trying to care for your health. Grabbing a bottle of Drink Simple Maple Water is a delicious, convenient, and refreshing way to naturally get in the prebiotics that your body needs.

P.S. For a quick and simple gut-healthy recipe chock full of prebiotics and probiotics, try out this Happy Healthy Gut Smoothie. You won’t regret it.

Written by Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

Edited by Nancy Chen

Lauren is a nutritionist and executive committee member of the Women's Health DPG of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a recipient of Emerging Leader in Women's Health Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the author of Fueling Male Fertility. You can find her on Instagram at @LaurenManaker_rdn or on her website, Nutrition Now Counseling.
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