Probiotics and Prebiotics

Most people have heard of probiotics: tiny micro-organisms that live in your colon. They are essential to a healthy GI system. But many people may not have heard of prebiotics. We’ll go over both in detail so you’ll know exactly how to supplement and eat for maximize gut health.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are tiny microbes (bacteria) that live in your colon and help break down fibers that the digestive system can’t break down on its own. Think of your gut as a fish tank; the fish tank is your gut and the fish are the probiotics. The good bacteria help keep the bad bacteria in check. There are over ten times the number of bacteria in your gut as there are cells in your body! Some examples of probiotics are:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are soluable fibers that travel to your colon where they are fermented and turned into energy for the good bacteria. If your gut is a fish tank, the fish are probiotics and the fish food is prebiotics. Prebiotics are essential to feed the probiotics in your gut. Some examples of prebiotics are:

  • Chicory Root
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Benefiber

Resistant Starches

Resistant starches are foods that function as prebiotics. They are not absorbed by the small intestine and travel to the colon where they are fermented and turned into short-chain fatty acids. Then, they are used as a booster for the bacteria in the gut. Resistant starches are considered prebiotic if they satisfy these three criteria. Some examples of resistant starches are:

  • Plantains and Green Bananas
  • Beans, Peas, and Lentils
  • Whole grains and Barley
  • Cooked and cooled Rice, Potatoes, Beans, Pasta
  • Overnight Oats

Understanding how to supplement your gut with prebiotics and proboitics is key. Now try out some different strategies. For example, drink a kombucha every day and take Benefiber. Or eat yogurt with sliced green banana. Your microbiome will be rejoicing!

Author: T Ross

I spent the first part of my life playing piano and composing music. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in music composition and cognitive science. Then I became a User Interface Engineer for four years. I moved home to Raleigh, NC to be closer to my family and began to freelance. On the side, I created a company called Elemental Nutrition & Wellness that uses interactive resource calculators to give people the tools they need to lose weight and boost nutrition. Now I have my own practice as a holistic nutritionist. I help people meet their weight loss goals by fostering self-motivation. You can reach me at

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