PreBiotic vs ProBiotic – The Key Differences

Probiotic refers to the healthy bacteria which are found in our gut microbiome or gastrointestinal tract and are essential for digestion.

These are healthy, beneficial bacteria that help the human body perform various vital functions, including digestion of food.

Prebiotic's, on the other hand, refers to the food for these bacteria or the nutrients which keep these bacteria alive and support their growth.

What Are PreBiotic's?

Prebiotics are an essential food source for probiotics or gut bacteria that reside within our body. As recommended by Dr. Sara Mesilhy, a Gastroenterologist on our medical team, said that "eating more prebiotics, probiotics, fiber, polyphenols, fermented foods, whole grains, nuts, beans, and fresh fruits can have potential benefits for gut health".

Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible fiber derived from various plant-based foods such as oligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharide, and inulin. These fibers are vital for supporting and maintaining the proper functioning of gut bacteria. It is important to note that while all prebiotics are fiber, not all fiber is prebiotic.

What Are Probiotic's ?

Probiotics on the other hand are a collection of trillions of bacteria that inhabit our gastrointestinal tract and play a crucial role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food we consume.

It is important to note that a healthy body requires a balance of both prebiotics and probiotics. Imbalances in either of these two can leave us susceptible to a variety of health issues, including but not limited to upset stomach, sugar cravings, weight changes, and insomnia, as research suggests.

PreBiotic Foods

Prebiotics are mainly found in plant-based foods, and some plants have higher prebiotic content as compared to others. Here are some foods which are rich in prebiotic fiber which is essential for keeping the ideal balance of probiotic bacteria in your gut:

  • Acacia Gum: Acacia Gum contains prebiotic and is one of the most potent prebiotics on the planet. You can mix the powder in the water and drink it.
  • Asparagus: You can eat raw asparagus to get the required dose of prebiotics as raw asparagus is also one of the best prebiotics available in the world.
  • Bananas: Bananas are commonly used for balancing the gut and are also one of the most potent prebiotics. Unripe bananas are also a good choice.
  • Chicory Root: Chicory root, as the name suggests, is the root of the chicory vegetable. It contains 65% fiber and is an excellent prebiotic.
  • Dandelion Greens: Dandelion greens contain 25% fiber and are a good source of prebiotics. These can consumed as salad or can be cooked with other vegetables.
  • Garlic: Garlic is also a good source of prebiotics as it contains two crucial prebiotics, inulin, and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), namely. 
  • Leafy Greens: Leafy greens such as spinach are abundant in fiber, which makes them an ideal prebiotic food.
  • Legumes: Legumes, including chickpeas, lentils, and beans are rich in fiber and are among some of the best prebiotic food.
  • Onions: Onion's are an excellent prebiotic food due to its fiber content. 
  • Artichoke: Artichokes are said to be a great choice with jerusalem artichokes one of the best source of prebiotics.

Potential PreBiotic Benefits

Research suggests that prebiotics may provide several additional benefits beyond serving as food for the probiotics in your gut. These benefits include enhancing mineral absorption, promoting healthy blood sugar levels, aiding in weight loss, and boosting bone health.

It is recommended to take prebiotics at any time of the day, but it is crucial to take them at the same time as your probiotics to allow them to work together in your gut.

Probiotic Foods

  • Kefir: This traditional Turkish form of yogurt is one of the best probiotic foods available.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt has been long known as food, which aids in digestion and is one of the best probiotics which is also readily available across the world. You can choose plant-based, dairy free variety for maximum benefit and must also avoid sweetened versions as sugar is known to disrupt digestion.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Pickled vegetables such as pickled cucumbers are also good bacteria probiotic foods as long as they are not pickled in vinegar.
  • Tempeh: Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that is rich in both protein and probiotics.
  • Natto: Natto is made from fermented soybeans and is also a good rich source of probiotics.
  • Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a form of fermented cabbage which is rich in lactobacillus probiotics created during the fermentation process.

Synbiotic Foods

It's clear there are seperate sources for both Pre and Probiotics, but it's even possible to get both together at the same time from some foods. These are called synbiotics and are mostly found in dairy products like Kefir and Cheese.

If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, then it may be best to buy supplements that contain both PreBiotics and Probiotics. Live Concious Pro-45 is a good one that contains Prebiotic Fiber and 11 strains of Probiotic. If you are interested in just getting a prebiotic supplement without probiotics then Dr. Steven Gundry's Prebiothrive may also be a good option since you can take it easily by mixing it in water.

Prebiotic Side Effects

Probiotics can potentially cause the following side effects. Gas, Bloating, Constipation, Headaches, Increased Histamine Levels. People with a compromised immune systems or recent surgeries should avoid taking probiotics.

For Prebiotics, the good news is that the side effects are a lot less scary. Some of the best Prebiotics come from natural foods you may already eat every day without issue.

There is no evidence to suggest that Prebiotics can cause yeast infections, headaches, headache. If you experience any symptoms you should consult a medical professional immediately. 

Prebiotic's shouldn't cause weight gain but if you are eating your prebiotic's from natural food sources then make sure to eat the recommended daily amount for your BMI.


Hopefully, now you understand how prebiotics differs from probiotics, and we’d like to mention that both these complement each other and that you can read our best probiotics guide to find the best vegan probiotic.

A regular diet that contains both prebiotics and probiotics is considered a healthy diet, and people who include the foods mentioned above in their diet are known to be generally healthy as compared to those who don’t consume prebiotic and probiotic foods. I am not a medical professional, and this content is for informational purposes only.

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