Prebiotics promote the growth and proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Probiotics have been defined as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Unlike probiotics, which are live organisms, prebiotics are components of food that are not otherwise easily digested by humans and these food components essentially feed beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Probioticsare live microorganisms with nearly 20 known species. The live and active bacteria (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) found in foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk or other cultured dairy products are considered probiotics and may be the most familiar.
Anything with sugar in it can be a prebiotic.
Inulin – Inulin is found in 36,000 plants such as:
Herbs – chicory root, burdock root and dandelion root
Fruits – such as apples, bananas
Sweet vegetables – such as onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks and Jerusalem artichokes
Raw apple cider vinegar
EcoBloom – Body Ecology’s prebiotic dietary fiber supplement Mother’s milk for babies
The subgroup of inulin, is also a prebiotic and is often added to dairy foods and baked goods. It improves the taste and stimulates the growth of the beneficial bacteria, bifidobacteria.
Prebiotics have been shown to moderate cholesterol and triglyceride levels- both indicators of heart disease. Specifically, one study shows that inulin can reduce artherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries by 30%. As heart disease becomes more widespread among men and women, new approaches to treatment and prevention that do not involve medications are proving to be effective and have the added benefit of being side effect free, unless you count improved health as a side effect!
From an immunity standpoint, who doesn’t want to feel better and get sick less often?
In preliminary research, prebiotics boost white blood cells and killer T cells, and may even improve your body’s response to vaccinations. Children in one test group who ate yogurt containing inulin had fewer daycare absences, fewer doctor visits and took fewer antibiotics.
Chronic Illness and Digestion
Because prebiotics act in your intestines, they have a profound effect on the pathogens and bad bacteria in your body that can cause disease. Prebiotics are being used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease, and may also prove useful for treating cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes.
The 19th century Russian scientist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov is credited with identifying probiotics and their possible benefits. This “father of probiotics” noted the connection between the longevity of Bulgarian peasants and their diet featuring Lactobacillus-rich milk that was fermented with lactic acid. Later, in the 20th century, these microorganisms were called probiotics, meaning “for life” in Greek. In 1935, the Japanese drink Yakult became the first commercially released probiotics product.
Probiotics have formally been defined as “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Put more simply, probiotics are the healthy bacteria that naturally reside in the gut, where they promote immunity and digestion.
Benefits of Probiotics:
1. Immune system
2. Maintain optimal health and wellness.
3. Provide a natural defense or immune system for your body.
4. Prevent growth of harmful bacteria.
5. Strengthen your immune system towards allergies and other autoimmune diseases.
6. Help your body to produce vitamins.
Support healthy digestion.
Increase defecation and reduce constipation.
Help control the illness-causing bacteria in your intestinal tract.
Reduce the effects of Candida infection.
Improve digestion of lactose, especially for you who are lactose-intolerant.
Reducing your cholesterol level.
Reducing blood pressure.
Improving your body’s absorption of minerals, especially calcium.
Decreasing dental-caries-causing microbes in your mouth.
Probiotics To Prevent Disease
Cure vaginal yeast infections.
Urinary tract infections.
Prevent diarrhea after having treatment with certain antibiotics.
Prevent diarrhea caused by virus or Salmonella.
Manage the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Strengthen the immune system to combat allergies and other immunal diseases.
Reduce amounts of cancer-causing substances in your intestine.
Reduce the effects of a Candida infection.
Prevent and/or reduce colon cancer.
Reduce the development of allergy in your children.
Reduce infections and inflammation.