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Prebiotics vs. Probiotics

Updated: Feb 10

You have probably heard the term prebiotics and probiotics before but what is the real difference between the two?

Prebiotics and probiotics are both necessary for a healthy gut, however, they play different roles.

Green vegetable toast

To make it simple to understand, prebiotics are found in the foods we consume in our diet. While humans are not able to digest the fiber from prebiotics, our gut microbiome can. They work to feed your good bacteria by adding rich, highly satiating complex carbohydrates, or pre-biotics, to your gut. These complex carbohydrates then go through a fermentation process that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut by producing short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate.

Prebiotics help to support our body's digestion and immune function.

Prebiotics are found in:

  • Whole grains

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Nuts

  • Seeds


Probiotics are the actual live microorganisms that are inoculated in our gut microbiome. They line the digestive tract and support the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. These can be found in fermented foods or supplements.

Fermented foods include:

  • Kimchi

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kefir (dairy and/or coconut water) Yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)

  • Lassi

  • Natto

  • Miso

  • Tempeh

  • Fermented pickles

  • Kombucha

Consuming both prebiotics and probiotics are an important part of keeping gut health in check!

Simple ways to include more prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods:

  1. Include fresh or frozen vegetables at each meal

  2. Snack on fruit and nuts

  3. Top toast or salads with kimchi or sauerkraut

Need a place to start?

Grab our freebie 5-DAY gut health challenge! This challenge will teach you how to Optimize Your Gut Health through good nutrition and lifestyle habits!

Have you been working on your gut health, feel as if you have taken some positive steps in the right direction but still need more?

Check out our Gut Health Masterclass

In this 8-week comprehensive course, you will learn the ins and outs of supporting your gut health and getting rid of those gut uncomfortable symptoms!

Topics covered include:

  • Gut microbiome

  • Probiotics and prebiotics

  • Foods to avoid

  • Gut healing foods

  • Dealing with uncomfortable symptoms

  • Food intolerances vs. food allergies

  • Supplements

  • Lifestyle factors

  • Mindful eating


Need help incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle? Click the link below to schedule your free consultation with one of our licensed dietitians.

Luciana Perasso, M.S, R.D.N  NextGeneration Nutrition Registered Dietitian

Written by: Luciana Perasso, M.S, R.D.N

NextGeneration Nutrition Registered Dietitian


Jessica Mantell M.S., C.N.S., L.D.N.

CEO & Founder of NextGeneration Nutrition

Jessica Mantell, CEO, M.S, LDN, Founder

NextGeneration Nutrition believes that better health should be accessible to everyone and that we all are able to improve our health through good nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle change. We do not support setting shame-based goals but encourage embracing our bodies, genetics, and personality. Our philosophy is abandoning the “One Size Fits All” mentality to create a personalized wellness plan based on your biological makeup and your lifestyle.

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