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Probiotics are living organisms (often bacteria) which, consumed in sufficient quantities, have a beneficial effect on health5. On the other hand, prebiotics are ingredients that are often non digestible and that stimulate certain types of bacteria in the colon. This in turn improves intestinal health and overall health6. Basically, probiotics are “good” bacteria for the digestive system, whilst prebiotics are the “food” for these bacteria.
Besides probiotic supplements that are found on the market, several foods are sources of “good” bacteria for your digestive system (probiotics): miso, yogurt, kefir are some examples. It is beneficial to regularly include them in your diet.
There are two main categories of prebiotics, fructo-oligosaccharides (principally inulin) and galacto-oligosaccharides. The following foods contain good amounts of prebiotics: artichoke, asparagus, bananas, tomatoes, barley, rye, legumes, most whole grains, chicory root and dandelion root. Foods from the onion family (onions, garlic, leeks, etc.) also contain prebiotics.7
The health of the intestinal flora (bacteria) influences your entire body, so by having a healthy intestinal flora, you promote your general wellbeing.