For years, we’ve been told to eat probiotics and prebiotics for our digestive health. But what are these supplements?
Probiotic is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the media, but do you really understand how it affects your body? Do you know which foods contain them or where to find them? Are they safe for everyone? Should I take probiotics and prebiotics every day or just when I feel sick?
These questions can be difficult to answer without proper research.
This article will help clear up the confusion surrounding probiotics and prebiotics so that you can make an informed decision on your own health.
What are probiotics and prebiotics?
The first step in improving your digestive health is learning about prebiotics and probiotics.
Probiotics and prebiotics are live bacteria that help support healthy digestion by balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotic fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates that pass through the small intestine unchanged and reach the large intestine where they act as food for our “good” bacteria.
Probiotic supplements contain live bacteria that we want to grow in our gut; these bacteria help create a healthy balance of microorganisms which helps with digestion and other bodily functions.
These two ingredients can be found together as well as separately in a variety of different food sources such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut just to name a few.
The benefits of each
Prebiotics and probiotics are two types of bacteria that live in your gut. They both help you digest food, but they do so in different ways.
Prebiotics act as nutrients for the good bacteria already living in your gut, while probiotics change the environment around them to make them more hospitable for themselves.
A lot of people are now turning to prebiotics and probiotics as a way to improve their digestive health. This is because these supplements can help fight against the negative effects of gluten, which many people have trouble digesting.
How do probiotics and prebiotics work?
Prebiotics and probiotics have both been shown to improve digestive health. A study published in the journal Gut found that supplementing with prebiotics for four weeks improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) such as bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Another study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that patients who supplemented with probiotics for six months had a significant reduction in lactose intolerance.
The human body has a constant battle going on between bad microorganisms (like yeast) and good ones (like lactobacilli). Your immune system is constantly trying to get rid of any bad guys from attacking or infecting you, and your digestive system is no different.
Microorganisms like Candida yeast and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) can cause serious health problems, so it’s important to keep those good guys strong
Who should take probiotics and prebiotics?
The answer is everyone! Here’s why:
Anyone can benefit from taking them. Your age, gender, and state of health don’t make a difference; anyone who wants to improve their gut health can take probiotics or prebiotics.
Anyone with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should take them. Probiotics and prebiotics can help to relieve symptoms like cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.
They can also help to reduce inflammation in the gut. People who are taking antibiotics should take probiotics. Antibiotics kill not only bad bacteria but also the good bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics can help to restore the balance of bacteria and help you recover from your antibiotic treatment. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should take probiotics. Probiotics can help to prevent problems like diarrhea and constipation, both of which are common during pregnancy.
They can also help to boost the immune system of the baby. People who are on a vegan or vegetarian diet should take prebiotics.
Prebiotics are especially important for vegans and vegetarians because they don’t get as many healthy bacteria from their food as people who eat meat and dairy products.
So, whether you’re looking to improve your gut health or just want to be proactive about your health, probiotics and prebiotics are a good way to go.
What side effects can you expect from them?
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria found in your gut, and prebiotics is foods for these bacteria.
Together they can help to maintain a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, improve digestion and nutrient absorption, regulate moods and behavior, boost energy levels, and fight allergies or chronic illnesses like IBS or Crohn’s disease.
But there are also some side effects that you might experience while taking probiotics or prebiotics.
For example, gas production (this is normal), increased appetite (not always desirable), and bloating (again this is normal). You may want to start with smaller doses of probiotic supplements until you see how your body reacts to them.
What to avoid when taking probiotics or prebiotics
It has become increasingly clear that gut microbiota plays a major role in many aspects of human health. Probiotics and prebiotics are often used to help maintain gut microflora balance, but there are some dangers associated with this practice.
Some people who take probiotics or prebiotics experience stomach upset, as well as increased flatulence.
In addition, it is possible for certain types of bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics if they were taken alongside these supplements.
Finally, those with compromised immune systems should be careful about taking high doses of probiotics which could lead to fungal infections from yeast strains such as Candida albicans or Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
However, if you do not have any medical conditions then probiotics and prebiotics can be a great way to maintain gut health.
What can I eat that contains probiotics and prebiotics
While prebiotics and probiotics are two different things, they both have a positive effect on your digestive health, and both can be found in a wide variety of foods.
The best way to get them is by eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
Prebiotic-rich foods include:
- Jerusalem artichokes (inulin)
- Chicory root (inulin)
- Garlic (fructans and oligosaccharides, mostly mannitol)
- Onions (fructans and oligosaccharides, mostly mannitol)
- Asparagus (inulin)
- Bananas (fructooligosaccharides)
- Berries (fructooligosaccharides)
- Brewer’s yeast (mannanoligiosaccharides)
- Wheat bran (arabinoxylans)
- Oats (beta-glucans)
- Soybeans (isoflavones)
- Lentils (fiber and galacto-oligosaccharides)
- Kidney beans (fiber and galacto-oligosaccharides)
Probiotic-rich foods include:
- Sauer Kraut
- Pickles (not sweetened)
- Kombucha tea
Should I take probiotics and prebiotics every day
There are many benefits to taking probiotics and prebiotics every day. They can help in weight loss, boost the immune system, improve mood, reduce inflammation in the gut, and more!
The only downsides are that they may cause some people to experience stomach upset or flatulence. Overall though, it is a worthwhile investment for your health.
If you’re looking to improve your digestive health, adding prebiotics and probiotics to your diet is a great place to start.
These natural ingredients can be found in many different food sources, so there’s no excuse to add them to your daily routine.
Improving your digestion will help you feel better overall and may even help reduce the risk of certain diseases. So what are you waiting for? Start adding prebiotics and probiotics to your diet today.
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