What Is the Difference Between "prebiotic" and "probiotic"?


Quick Answer

Both probiotics and prebiotics play a role in maintaining good digestive health. Probiotics contain “good” bacteria that aid in controlling the growth of harmful bacteria in the body to promote good digestive system health. Prebiotics are carbohydrates the human body cannot digest, and they act as food for probiotics.

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Full Answer

Maintain a healthy level of probiotics and prebiotics in your body by simply adding certain food items to your diet. Probiotics are commonly found in foods that undergo the process of fermentation, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup and certain soft cheeses. Some products, such as probiotic milk, have probiotics added to them. Prebiotics are found in foods such as bananas, asparagus, artichokes, oatmeal and whole grains. While no natural food product contains both probiotics and prebiotics, they are available as dietary supplements.

Evidence suggests that consuming probiotics can help treat diarrhea, prevent vaginal and yeast infections, treat irritable bowl syndrome, prevent urinary tract infections, hasten the treatment of intestinal infections, and reduce, or even prevent, cold and flu symptoms.

As side effects are fairly rare, most adults can safely add foods containing probiotics and prebiotics to their diet, though it is advised that you consult your doctor if you plan to take probiotics or prebiotics in the form of dietary supplements.

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