Those poised to begin a health regimen that includes probiotics would be wise to also educate themselves about the closely named, yet vastly different, “prebiotics” that are also beneficial to health.
Prebiotics are to probiotics what fertilizer is to a vegetable garden. Prebiotics are essentially a special type of soluble fiber that is used by the beneficial bacteria as fuel, advises the prebiotic supplement company Prebiotin.
Examples of good sources of prebiotics include bananas, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, apple skins, beans, and chicory root. The prebiotic fiber moves through the small intestine undigested and fermented until it reaches the large intestine. Once there, beneficial bacteria break it down and use it as food.
Thusly, the prebiotics can then multiply readily and improve the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Eating prebiotic foods can fuel the process, but many probiotic supplements now have a combination formula that includes prebiotics in the recipe.