Here’s Why You Should Know What Prebiotic and Probiotics are
You can never be one up on the health and wellness trends as some new concept always crops up. Probiotics is about eating the right gut-healthy foods or taking supplements which contain beneficial gut bacteria, although a relatively new term, prebiotics may leave you confused. Is it another marketing version of probiotics? What is the buzz about postbiotics? With all the confusing terms being used, let’s clear up the confusion about each term.
What Are Probiotics?
To understand probiotics’ role in your health, let’s review how they work in your digestive tract. Your large and small intestines, are home to over 100 trillion bacterial microbes which impact your well-being, as colonies of good bacteria promote healthy digestion, while bad bacterial strains cause digestive distress. But smooth bathroom business does not ensure a thriving intestinal colony as desirable. Microbiomes, the total count of bacteria thriving in your body is today backed by path-breaking research which links healthy microbes to lowered risk of health conditions, such as depression, Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, etc. Positive bacteria strains exist in fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, or tempeh. They are contained in probiotic pills.
And What Are Prebiotics?
As researchers uncover more insights into how exactly probiotics operate, they discovered that there’s more we can do more than just inserting some good bacteria into the body via food or pills. For probiotics to work effectively in your colon, prebiotics, which are food for probiotics, are needed. The good gut bugs need to feed on prebiotic fiber which survives the major stops along the digestive process, the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and make it to the colon, where probiotics live. Prebiotic fibers are the non-digestible varieties like fructo-oligosaccharides, oligosaccharides, and inulin. Plant-based foods such as garlic, bananas, onions, artichokes, leeks, asparagus, whole wheat and soybeans are the best prebiotics.
What about Postbiotics?
Postbiotics deals with the process after digestion happens. As bacteria break down the fibres in your GI tract, metabolic compounds are produced. Earlier researchers thought of postbiotics as waste by-products, but interest in their potential as a medical therapy for inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and entero-colitis, is increasing. As research is on-going, postbiotics selling with prebiotics and probiotics as dietary supplements will take time but postbiotic pills will eventually hit the market.
Which Ones Should You Take?
After biotic terms are defined, what to take, and how much? If good bacteria are beneficial, a billions-strong, over-the-counter probiotic supplement may be the panacea for all ailments. But recent studiesraise serious questions about whether probiotic pills really do what they are supposed to do. Taking probiotics to counter antibiotics actually is counter-productive, as gut flora take longer to return to a normal state. Probiotic supplements benefit only very specific diseases or conditions, such as antibiotic-related diarrhea and entero-colitis in infants. Probiotic-rich foods also have other beneficial compounds like protein and calcium in yogurt and kefir, or vitamin C in sauerkraut, which are not available in pills. If your diet lacks fruits, veggies, or whole grains, or has certain macro-nutrient restrictions (keto, perhaps?), adding a prebiotic supplement is useful.
Finally, before swallowing any supplements, consult a registered dietitian or health care provider before starting a pre- or probiotic, if you have a specific previous health condition.
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