Nutrition expert explains the difference between prebiotics and probiotics

Nutrition expert explains the difference between prebiotics and probiotics

The significance of gut health has surged to the forefront of scientific research in recent years, as mounting evidence unveils the intricate connection between gut microbiota and various aspects of human health, such as immunity, mental health – and even chronic diseases.

However, recent research has shed light on the true extent of the nation’s confusion over gut health, with a majority of respondents admitting to not knowing the importance, the benefits, or how to maintain a healthy gut.

The YouGov research, which was commissioned by nutrition drinks brand MOJU in partnership with nutritionist and prebiotic expert dietitian, Kara Landau from Gut Feeling, showed less than one in five respondents understood the difference between the health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics.

Whilst one in two respondents said that eating the correct amount of fibre and plants is important for their gut health, less than 14 percent said they were eating the recommended amount of plant items a week.

This is not so surprising when just 13 percent of respondents knew they should be aiming for 30 plant items a week to maintain a healthy gut, and nine out of 10 Britons weren’t aware of the correct amount of fibre to consume in their daily diet.

Commenting on the research Ms Landau said: “In order to maintain good gut health, the goal is diversity. Of the six main plant groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans and pulses), nuts and seeds and herbs and spices, it is recommended that we eat 30 different plant items a week.”

However, Ms Landau noted: “The confusion doesn’t just lie in making the connection between plants and fibre and gut health. Less than one in five (19 percent) understand the difference between health benefits of prebiotics and probiotics.

“Almost 40 percent of respondents incorrectly identified yoghurt as a prebiotic source, when in actual fact, yoghurt is arguably the most well-known probiotic further highlighting the confusion within the gut health space.”

Even though they sound similar, prebiotics and probiotics play two different roles in gut health.

Ms Landau said: “Put simply, prebiotics are a type of fibre that the human body cannot digest, they act as food for probiotics, also known as good bacteria.”

Don’t miss…
Doctor uncovers the causes behind excessive sweating and how to treat it[EXPLAINED]
Six ‘difficult to spot’ symptoms of a ‘rare’ cancer[INSIGHT]
One in five Brits go at least one day a week without brushing their teeth[ANALYSIS]

Providing a few examples of prebiotics, Ms Landau told,uk: “Inulin, which can be found in chicory root and Jerusalem artichokes. Oligosaccharides, such as those found within human milk for young babies; resistant starches that can be found inside foods such as green bananas; as well as cooked and then cooled potatoes or rice.”

Ms Landau added: “Specific polyphenols as well, such as those found inside kiwi fruits.”

For those looking to incorporate a variety of prebiotic-rich foods, Ms Landau suggested incorporating a range of higher fibre plant-based foods, such as legumes and lentils, onions, garlic, cooked and cooled grains and potatoes, together with functional foods and beverages like gut health shots, such as those of MOJU’s.

But what about probiotic and prebiotic supplements? Are these actually effective?

Ms Landau said: “Prebiotic and probiotic supplements can definitely be valuable, and in regards to probiotics specifically, to reap a specific health outcome, looking for a particular strain with a certain dosage proven by science to lead to a health benefit is always recommended.”

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

When it comes to prebiotics, Ms Landau said: “Considering most people in the UK are not consuming anywhere near the recommended dietary fibre or plant variety sources to meet their prebiotic needs, seeking out supplements is a great way to ensure they are consuming prebiotics in levels that will actually benefit their gut health.”

Ms Landau added that often, attaining “adequate” prebiotics from food alone would require careful planning and an abundance of different plant-based foods. Therefore, a “simple solution” to look after gut health is to select items from trusted sources that have been carefully formulated to achieve a gut health benefit.

She added: “Giving your body the gut-healthy prebiotics it needs should be as simple, convenient and delicious as possible, you don’t always need to get nutrients by making meals from scratch.

“Learning the correct food habits to adopt can make a real difference to your health, and doesn’t need to be complicated, or expensive. If people understood the importance of prebiotics over probiotics in their diet, that would help their gut health enormously.”

Source: Read Full Article