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Probiotics vs. Prebiotics

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

“I heard that probiotics don’t do anything.”

“I heard that you need to spend $$$ to have your gut microbiome evaluated.”

“I heard that antibiotics do more harm than good.”

“I heard that you need a lot of fiber to keep the gut healthy- the more, the better.”

“I heard that processed foods are the reason we don’t have gut health.”

I’m hearing that there’s lot’s of confusion around probiotics and prebiotics!

While these have similar names, they are very different things. There’s lots of hullabaloo that the media likes to throw around to get our attention. I made this chart to be a convenient, factual reference for you to add to your nutrition knowledge arsenal.

From “The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods” by Bonnie Y. Modugno, MS, RDN

Signs you may need a gut boost

I want to be super clear here. Gut health is SO co-opted by diet culture. People who have overgrowth aka SIBO aka Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, will need much more than a few meals.

Signs of malnutrition are often blamed on IBS or poor gut health. Frequent illness, constipation, fullness, gas, and anxiety around food can all be signs of an eating disorder, that my client’s have blamed on poor gut health. Unfortunately, this leads to even more restriction, even though there are good intentions.

If you’ve had a course of antibiotics, diarrhea, constipation, or are feeling general GI upset, it might be time to have a probiotic and prebiotic boosting meal. If it doesn’t help, it’s time to seek help from a dietitian!

Putting it together: Meals

The following are meals that include both probiotic and prebiotic foods, in a yummy way.

Yogurt with berries and granola

Overnight oats made with kefir

Sandwich with pickles on whole wheat bread

Sausage with sauerkraut on a bun

Brown rice with kimchi

Miso soup with vegetables

Beans and rice with pickled onions

Peanut butter sandwich with a glass of kombucha

I hope this is helpful in navigating the diet talk around probiotics, and adding to your knowledge of nutrition. If you’re finding it difficult to figure your gut health out, we’d love to work with you!




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