What can pre/probiotics do for your tummy?
Prebiotics and probiotics supplements may have names that sound alike, but these two types of supplements are very different. Probiotics are naturally occurring nutrients found in plants and many common foods, especially fruits and vegetables, while probiotics are living microorganisms that found in fermented foods like yogurt and cultured beverages.
What’s the difference?
The microorganisms are quite similar to the ones that are found in the human gut which are considered beneficial.
Probiotics are also referred to as good bacteria or friendly bacteria. The good bacteria in probiotics are usually available to people in the form of supplements or food. Probiotics are also used as complementary and alternative medicine. Many people use them to prevent illnesses and to treat certain diseases. They are also used to support general health and well being.
Prebiotics are dietary components that cannot be broken down into absorbable form by the human digestive system. Their health effects are directed towards the gut. However, these prebiotics are primarily ingested to provide nourishment to the pro-health microbes that keep the digestive tract healthy. Moreover, the gut microflora is highly specialised in processing prebiotic elements from food.
Wealth of benefits
Probiotics and Prebiotics are necessary to maintain the health of the digestive system, it is best to note that maintaining digestive health by taking prebiotics supplements is a lot better than taking in more probiotics supplements. Below are the reasons and the differences between them;
We already have probiotics in our body. Our digestive system hosts hundreds of bacteria, both good and bad. True, it’s not a bad idea to add more probiotics to your digestive system, but these good bacteria wouldn’t be able to flourish without good prebiotics digestive health. That is why prebiotics supplements are more recommended than probiotics supplements.
Prebiotics are not inherent in our digestive system. They are derived from the food we eat. However, the food we eat may not contain enough prebiotics to maintain good prebiotics digestive health which could stimulate the growth and development of probiotics in the digestive system. This is why prebiotics supplements are beneficial in keeping your digestive health in great shape.
When there is not enough prebiotics in the digestive system, bad bacteria could overcome good bacteria, thus causing digestive and other health issues. One example would be colon cancer.
The bad bacteria in our digestive systems don’t have any use for prebiotics. So taking in more prebiotic supplements won’t increase the likelihood of bad bacteria doing more damage.
Prebiotics are hard to get. Even a regular diet won’t guarantee an ample supply of prebiotics which we need to maintain normal prebiotics digestive health. Most of the prebiotics can be found in the stems or the skin of the fruits.
However, not many people like the idea of chewing on kiwi peelings to get a good dose of prebiotics.
Prebiotics also provide protection against the ill-effects of antibiotics on good bacteria in the digestive system. We all know that antibiotics kill all bacteria, the bad and the good, alike. Prebiotics do a great job in helping speed up the growth of good bacteria levels while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria.
Good prebiotics digestive health could help boost the immune system. When nutrients are properly absorbed into the body, they provide the necessary fuel which would help you fight against sickness and infection. It also gives you few chances of developing allergies.
Prebiotics sustain and nourish our probiotics. With the right amount, these probiotics will continuously overpower and beat the bad or harmful bacteria that cause diseases. They will surely improve our immune system and reduce the instances of acquiring colds, cough or any low-resistance illnesses. Our body will also absorb more vitamins and minerals, even boosting our natural production of vitamin B. Another important contribution of prebiotics is that they allow our body to easily absorb and use calcium, making our pearly whites and bones strong.
Prebiotics include the reduction of lactose intolerance, again making the body more receptive to calcium. There will also be a reduction of the symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease. It’s an illness caused by the coming up of the stomach acid from, of course, the stomach into the esophagus. Also, expect the reduction of allergic reactions to food caused by bacterial imbalance. Indeed, when probiotics are nurtured, bacterial balance is maintained, thus preventing the onset of food allergies.
With all the different strains of viruses and the variety of diseases that surface each and everyday, we must try our best to maintain optimum health. Nothing is more precious than a sound mind and body, for without them, everything in our lives will be compromised. Nutrition plays a very important role in preserving good health. Why not? What we take in is used by our entire body system.
Because of all these health benefits, doctors and nutritionists recommend consuming foods that are rich in these substances. In fact, the recommended intake is between 4 to 8g of prebiotic foods daily just to help or support our digestive system. In the case of people with digestive disorders, of course, they need more. That would be about 15g of foods rich in prebiotics to eventually relieve the symptoms of digestive problems.
The fact remains that prebiotics are most effective than probiotics, in general. However, both prebiotic and probiotic supplements should be given to the body to ensure that the flora is maintained. It is very important to strike a fine balance of both the sources of good bacteria and ensure proper nourishment.
The bottom line is, if you continue to eat healthy and live healthy, you won’t be the only one who’s going to take advantage. Your family, friends and career will also benefit. So start your well-balanced diet now, ditch the vices and go for prebiotics. Nourish the good bacteria and experience the wonders it can do for your body. Supplements are an important part of our diet. But we have to choose wisely. Maintaining good digestive health means that prebiotics should be part of our daily intake.
Which foods are naturally high in prebiotics?
Dietary fibres classified as having high prebiotic effects includes inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans, FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).
It is important to note that in addition to natural ‘prebiotics’, many of these foods are also excellent sources of dietary fibre (roughage) and resistant starch.