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Probiotics and Prebiotics - What are they and do I need them in my diet?

Probiotics have been getting a lot attention in the news lately, and it seems more and more supplements are hitting the market claiming to give your digestive system the good bacteria it needs for optimum health. I believe that the best option is always the most natural. It makes the most sense to get your probiotics from the foods you eat, rather than from a supplement.

You don't necessarily need probiotics — a type of "good" bacteria — to be healthy. However, these microorganisms may help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria, just as the existing "good" bacteria in your body already do. Everyone's system is different. Some people have more health problems related to yeast overgrowth. Most of these can be improved with additions of prebiotics that feed the good bacteria already residing in your gut.

When probiotics and prebiotics are joined, they form a synbiotic. Lets try not to think about these little buggers running around in there, but hey, without them we would be a mess!

Fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir, are considered synbiotic because they contain live bacteria and the fuel they need to thrive.

Probiotics are found in foods such as yogurt, while prebiotics are found in whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes. In addition, probiotics and prebiotics are added to some foods and available as dietary supplements.