Remember, all our epic battles were on good versus bad. Now imagine your gut to be a battle field. Similarly, the war is waged in your body for predominance of good over bad. The soldiers and the invading thugs! I’m sure, you’ll be glad to meet the incredible tummy soldiers-the bacteria and they are not just few but 100 trillion!! Glad right? Believe me; if they are not doing their job, you end up in serious trouble. I’m not kidding around it’s a fact!
Well, relax! Although you cannot help associate the term bacteria with infections, let me tell you that not all are notorious, there are some good ones too. Alright, down to the point straight, you might have heard about the terms probiotics and prebiotics.
What are Probiotics?
The World Health Organization defines probiotics as; living organisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics act as fuel to probiotics supplements; they are non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system and help good bacteria grow and flourish.
Let’s get a closer picture, the gut consists of intestinal flora that refers to the variety of the microorganisms living in the intestinal tract. Some of which protect and preserve health, while others are destructive (the criminals). When everything is balanced, the quantity and activity of friendly bacteria remains predominant thus improves digestion, absorption of nutrients, strengthens immune system and defends the body from disease-causing germs.
Can you find these bacteria in your daily diet?
Hmm… yeah of course you can find, if your diet consists of fermented foods like yogurt, lassie, miso, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, soy-based products like soy sauces and buttermilk. These are the different types of probiotics available in the nature.
If you are not interested to take yogurt then prefer a supplement that consists of lactobacillus and bifido bacterium. Probiotic drinks are also available. You can also find prebiotic in carbohydrate foods like fruits, whole grains, bananas, berries, lentils and raw veggies like onions, leeks and garlic. Probiotics for women are extremely essential to maintain health in the long run.
Probiotics Health Benefits
The following health benefits are associated with the intake of daily doses of probiotics
- Enhanced immune system response
- Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation following surgery
- Helps to prevent eczema in youth
- Increased ability to digest food
- Therapeutic for viral respiratory tract infections by enhancing the overall immune system
- Reduces lactose intolerance
- Reduces the incidence of yeast infections, vaginitis and candidiasis
- Increases ability to assimilate the nutrients from food
- Alleviates many common digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea and IBS
- Acts as a remedy for bad breath (halitosis)
- Increases ability to synthesize vitamin B
- Increases ability to absorb calcium
- Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body
Day-to-day toxins and stress can lead to imbalance in your overall gut health leaving it laden with harmful microbes . As a result of which the body is prone to illness, infections and digestive disorder.
Factors that disrupt the Balance of Gut Flora
- Antibiotic use
- Use of birth control pills
- Use of hormones-especially immunosuppressant such as steroids
Symptoms of Probiotic Deficiency:
Obviously you cannot expect peaks of health with probiotic deficiency. Irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, lactose intolerance, weak immune response, bladder infections, skin rashes, colon and breast cancer, heart burn, excess gas and bloating.
As you can see, you cannot afford to pass through the hell….
How to strike the right balance?
The natural solution is to eat well to restore the balance of gut flora but, it might not be possible always, check out these suggestions to keep your gut going.
What to eat? Good bacteria feast on fiber. They thrive on a generous supply of vegetables, legumes, fruits, seeds, and whole grains. Foods like garlic, green tea, and ginseng contain polyphenols, which are also helpful for fostering friendly microbes.
What to avoid? The villain troops have their hearts for refined sugars and animal fat best of all. So watch out with sweets, refined flours, alcohol, butter, and fatty meats, or avoid them altogether, at least for a while. You should also steer clear of processed foods and anything containing adulterants like preservatives.
Try a probiotic supplement. If you expect to be traveling, or have been affected by any of the factors that imbalance the gut, consider taking a good probiotic supplement to restore the lost balance.
Here’s what to look for when selecting a probiotic
- The best general-purpose probiotic supplements combine several species of beneficial bacteria with a competitive yeast strain. Look for supplements that contain bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species such as L. acidophilus in billions. The number of colony-forming units (CFU’s) should be listed on the label.
- Look for inclusion of a prebiotic, such as FOS or inulin. For those with more serious digestive issues, start with a probiotic that doesn’t include prebiotics or yeast.
- If there are no prebiotics included, you may wish to select an enteric-coated probiotic as this enhances its ability to pass through the acidic environment of the stomach and small bowel to dissolve in the large intestines. (Many species of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and streptococci reportedly survive this passage intact, however).
- To ensure product purity, safety and quality, look for a supplement made in a GMP-compliant facility that is certified by the NSF. (These acronyms should also appear on the packaging).
So, to avoid the invading bacteria to take over and rob your gut harmony, empower more bacteria soldiers to the troop by regular intake of probiotic foods or supplement which checks on the health crisis.
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