Skip to main content

Best of Burlington

Get The Latest Stories, Events, and More Right In Your Inbox

THE GUT HEALTH POWER DUO - Probiotics and Prebiotics

03/25/2024 10:42AM ● By KAREN CASSIDY

Some may find it unsettling to learn that our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, these microorganisms are good guys and are vital to our overall health. We need them in order to be healthy.

These microorganisms are collectively known as our gut microbiome, and they are essential for digestion, nutrient absorption, metabolism, and the immune system. Based on the important jobs the microbiome perform, it is obvious that keeping them happy is crucial.

Having poor gut health has been linked to many medical issues, such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, thyroid issues, eczema, migraines, inflammatory bowel disease, and mental health disorders.


Every human has their own unique mixture of microorganisms living inside them. Each specific microbiome recipe is a combination of the foods we eat, our environment, and also what we inherit in utero.

Creating a hospitable environment for our healthy gut microorganisms to thrive is actually not hard to do. Most people have heard of probiotics, but not everyone knows about the importance of prebiotics.

Probiotics are consumed to repopulate the gut bacteria, while prebiotics are what we eat to keep the probiotic bacteria healthy. You can improve gut health almost overnight by eating a diet rich in probiotic and prebiotic foods daily. 

Probiotics are found in fermented foods and drinks like yogurt, cheese, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut. However, even if you eat a lot of foods that contain probiotics, it won’t do you much good if your intestinal environment doesn’t allow them to prosper. Here is where the importance of prebiotics comes in.

Basically, prebiotics are sources of fiber. Our gut bacteria love fiber. The gut bacteria living in our large intestines break down the fiber to produce a pH level that keeps the entire system healthy. Without prebiotics, aka fiber, probiotics would just introduce good bacteria that can’t live in our bodies.

Great prebiotic food options include beans, whole grains, garlic, bananas, onions, artichokes, mushrooms, soybeans, asparagus, and seaweed. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always great fiber sources for good gut health as well.

Overall, the goal should be to make sure your diet contains a good balance of probiotics and prebiotics. Every day, you’ll repopulate the gut bacteria with probiotics and then keep the probiotic bacteria healthy with prebiotics. If you feed your gut well, it may repay you with better health. 

Get The Latest Stories, Events, and More Right In Your Inbox