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Probiotics – Prebiotics…Heard of them?!

If you are into herbal / alternative / complimentary medicine, then you must be familiar with pre & probiotics and their role in health. For those that don’t, this is an overview of what they are, what health benefits they provide and which foods to find them in.

 

The definitions
Simply put – Probiotics are “good bacteria” that are similar to the ones found in our gut. They help our gut by increasing the number of good bacteria and in turn, inhibit the bad ones; a bacterial “balancing” act.
Prebiotics, however, act as the food for probiotic bacteria where they stimulate their growth and activity. When pre & probiotics are mixed together, they form synbiotics.

Why are “good bacteria” important for health?
  • Are important for the proper development of our immune system.
  • Protect us from disease causing microorganisms.
  • Are vital for the digestions of nutrients and food.

Probiotics have been used to ease symptoms of lactose intolerance & irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotic research has extended to exploring it’s role in inflammatory bowel disease, treating diarrhea, eczema prevention in children, & reducing bladder cancer recurrence & urinary tract infections. It is important to know that not all probiotics are the same. Health benefits depend on the particular strain of the organism and the dose – for this reason not all foods marketed as having probiotics will provide health benefits.

Now Prebiotics have been shown to ease constipation and diarrhea, as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis (-prebiotics are believed to enhance the absorption of calcium and magnesium).

Common Probiotics : Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli, Streptococcus Thermophilus.

Food Sources

Probiotics – found in the form of dietary supplements (capsules, powders) or in food products such as yoghurts, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages.

Prebiotics are found in whole grains, almonds, bananas, garlic, honey, leeks, onions & artichokes. They can also be available in supplement form.

My message: In order to achieve digestive health, it is important to get the balance right internally.

1 Comment
  1. Fantastic blog $author||I really love your blog.

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