Prebiotics vs Probiotics – and why you need both for optimum gut health

Just like calcium and Vitamin D go together, so do prebiotics and probiotics. It’s important to never forget that the supplement industry is a billion dollar business – they don’t care if what you’re taking is totally useless! Unfortunately, if you’re loading your body with probiotics and not consuming prebiotics that’s exactly what your actions are – useless.

So what exactly are probiotics and why do they need prebiotics? 

Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep your gut in balance. They’re naturally created by the process of fermentation in foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso soup, kimchi, and other fermented foods. They’re also the ones processing indigestible fiber thereby keeping bowel function regular. Remember, fiber is the indigestible part of a carb (meaning you poop it out), which is why cutting carbs is not the answer for weight loss, but instead consuming high fiber carbs – carbs are necessary for energy and regular bowel movements. Fiber is ONLY found in carbs and women should get 35 grams a day if you’re looking to lose weight (follow Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD for a lot more on this).

So where do prebiotics come on? Prebiotics feed that good bacteria in your system and thereby help increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics are found naturally in whole foods with insoluble fiber like apple with skin, jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, barley, or you can, like with probiotics, get them in supplement form. It’s always best to get everything from food, but supplements are a great backup. I love Silver Fern because their supplement has both pre and probiotics in one.

There’s also a great hack for getting your daily prebiotic fix, inulin! I will get more into that and inulin coffee in particular soon so stay tuned in the meantime… what about a yogurt and apple for breakfast?


  • Legumes, beans and peas.
  • Oats.
  • Bananas.
  • Berries.
  • Jerusalem artichokes (not the same as regular artichokes).
  • Asparagus.
  • Dandelion greens.
  • Garlic.
  • Leeks.
  • Onions.


Image: Clean Eating

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