Prebiotics & Probiotics - What's the Difference?

If someone asked you what the difference between Prebiotics and Probiotics was, would you have any idea? Most people have no idea, or just assume that if it says “biotic” in it, it must be good for you. In reality, this can result in a lot of dead, formerly healthy bacteria in your body. Let’s review the general benefit of Probiotics in your everyday routine. Probiotics are the good bacteria. Such examples include those found in yogurt, cheese, sour cream, kefir, or supplements.   Probiotics introduce these bacteria into your system, and presumably help the general function of your immune system, metabolism, blood, bladder, and bowel. However, the most common misconception about these bacteria is that they are self-reliant, and right off-the-bat, they are a bunch of little construction workers that are constantly improving your insides. However, what is one of the first images that pops into your head when you picture a construction worker? That’s right, a brawny fella sitting up high on a cross-beam with a lunch pail and a hard-hat. Now, how can you possibly expect the constructive bacteria in your body to go on with what they’re doing without stopping for lunch around noon? Thus, you have prebiotics. Prebiotics are the little fibers found in specific plants that Probiotics feed off of. That’s not to say your little construction workers won’t work at all without their lunch break, they just won’t be too happy about it, and they may go on strike without pay. So let’s avoid this, and review some of the best foods containing Prebiotics to keep your Probiotics well-fed. Keep in mind, most of the foods below are specified as “Raw”. This is because most plant fiber-containing foods will loose most of their fibrous make-up when cooked. Raw Chicory Root - 65% of Raw Chicory Root is plant fiber. Thus making ground chicory, or chicory root supplements, a certifiable smorgasbord for good bacteria. Raw Garlic - 17.5% plant fiber. Raw garlic may be a coughing fit followed by horrendous breath on it’s own, but imagine hummus or guacamole, and you have a well-balanced lunch for your good bacteria. Raw Leeks - 11.7% plant fiber. Toss these puppies in a fresh salad, pasta, egg quiche, or add as a garnish to any dish you’d like a slightly oniony flavor added to. Raw Onions - 8.6% plant fiber. Raw Onions are, well, raw onions. You wouldn’t bite a raw onion like an apple, so chop it up and toss it in a salad, or add a ring or two to a sandwich. Onions especially loose lots of good compounds when cooked, such as healthy sulphur. A good tip is to not over-peel your onion, as most of the good stuff is contained in the outermost layers of the onion. Cooked Onion - 5% plant fiber. Uh-oh, I’m breaking the rules here. However, most folks would agree that Raw Onion can be a bit strong, causing heartburn, or ruining any sort of social outing you were planning that night. I’m sure you want your stomach’s structural integrity and your social life to be well-off, so if you must, cook your onions. Raw Asparagus - 5% plant fiber. For the daring, it can be a wonderfully healthy addition to a green smoothie. You can also add a few sprigs, steamed, to the side of any dish. Doing ‘em up like Grandma and adding a pat of butter may not be too great of an idea, though. Raw Banana - 1% plant fiber. Bananas are commonly known for their high potassium, but they have prebiotic plant fiber, too. You can add banana to any smoothie, top off any meal with one, or bring them on a road trip. Your little construction workers will love to find one in their lunch pail as a nice addition. So, how much Prebiotic plant fiber should you put in the lunch pail? While you may get tiny amounts of good bacteria food in your diet, it is a good idea to get a minimum of about 5 grams a day of healthy plant fiber. Shakeology is an awesome way to get your Prebiotics, Probiotics, and other digestive enzymes all in one fell-swoop. It is chock-full of Prebiotic plant fiber, probiotic nutrients, and other superfoods that will make your little construction workers sing.