Overview The gut bacteria and the genes that they carry—collectively known as the “gut microbiome”—have a significant impact on your health, including the health of your heart. An imbalanced gut microbiome can wreak havoc on your heart. Hence, the key to a healthy heart may simply lie in the health of the bacteria residing in […]
Trillions of health-promoting bacteria reside in our bowels, where they function to fend off harmful microorganisms and accelerate digestion and normal bile metabolism. Mounting scientific evidence suggests that supplements containing beneficial bacteria (probiotics) or supplements supporting the growth of these good microbes (prebiotics) can preclude a variety of illnesses.
However, the question that arises is do we need to consume them on a regular basis?
Here are the top 5 reasons for taking the pro-and prebiotics daily!
1. Regulate the Normal Bowel Function and Soothe Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Pro – and prebiotics are a gateway to a healthy gut and a healthy gut is a gateway to a healthy body. It’s no secret that these viable bacterial strains regulate absorption and digestion of nutrients and strengthen the protective mucosal gut barriers, and thus, prevent the invasion of the disease-causing microorganisms. The subsequent reduction in the gut inflammation aids in obviating and healing gastrointestinal (GI) tract ulcers. 1
The daily domino effect is a healthy, flourishing gut (flora) and body, conducive to functioning optimally.
In short, you can count on probiotics for virtually any GI complaint.
2. Maintenance of Optimal Cardiovascular Health
A deranged lipid profile, a high blood pressure, and obesity are major cardiac risk factors. Daily consumption of probiotics has a positive impact on our cardiac health. They lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels while improving the HDL (good cholesterol) levels. 2 The improved cholesterol levels in turn cause a modest drop in blood pressure. 3
What’s more? Daily ingestion of these favorable microbes can help you jumpstart weight loss. Excerpts from several studies support the notion that weight gain and obesity have an association with altered gut flora. 4 (more…)
Prebiotics and probiotics are the yin-and-yang of gastrointestinal health. They are opposites in many ways. One is living, and the other is not. One is found in vegetables, and the other is found in dairy. There is no redundancy between them, and they each have their specific job. Their differences are what make them such a dynamic team and what make them the most effective when they are taken in tandem.
Prebiotics act as fertilizer and nurture the positive bacterial inhabitants in our guts that aid us by digesting things we can’t, producing vitamins we don’t, and creating an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Prebiotics are plant-based fibers that promote the growth and activity of these beneficial microorganisms in the large intestine and colon. They also increase calcium absorption and bone health.
Foods that are high in fiber are typically high in prebiotics, but not all fiber is prebiotic. A prebiotic is defined as a food that is non-digestible, meaning it passes through the stomach and small intestine. In the colon, the good bacteria use it as food which is great because it amplifies their population. While the good bacteria are proliferating, they ferment it and release fatty acid byproducts that nourish our intestinal lining and help regulate electrolyte levels.
Artichokes, bananas, leeks, onions, garlic, and whole-wheat products are rich, natural sources of prebiotics. Keep in mind that heating usually alters the food’s structure, so eating raw food over cooked food is recommended for maximum prebiotic benefits.
Although they sound similar, probiotics and prebiotics are not the same. Even though pro and prebiotics work in concert to promote the health of their host, they are drastically different in form and function.
Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that confer a health benefit, when administered in adequate amounts, to a host, or those who consume them. Specifically, probiotics are microorganisms, or live bacteria and yeasts, that assist primarily with digestion. The word probiotic means “promoting life”. These microorganisms promote life by maintaining a healthy digestive tract and immune system. Research indicates probiotic use may also provide several health benefits including promoting the health of the reproductive tract, oral cavity, lungs, skin, and gut-brain axis.
When compared to probiotics, prebiotics are not as easily defined or understood. Over the years, the definition of prebiotics has changed. As defined by current research, prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients, when metabolized by intestinal microorganisms, that facilitate changes in the composition and/or activity of intestinal microorganisms. These changes in composition and/or activity may result in potential health benefits appreciated by the host.