Gut bugs: pre and probiotics

With over 3kgs in the average gut…we need to make friends with our gut bugs. They do a very important job, and as the Greek word translates – pro, means ‘promoting’ and biotic, means ‘life’.

When our digestive tracts are healthy, they filter out and eliminate harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products that would otherwise cause damage. The healthy balance of bacteria assists with the regulation of gastrointestinal motility and maintenance of gut barrier function.

An imbalance is referred to as dysbiosis, and this has possible links to diseases of the intestinal tract, including ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, and Crohn’s disease, as well as more systemic diseases such as obesity and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. This role is very important as our immune system is our protection against germs, so when it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis as well as infections such as infectious diarrhea, H. pylori, skin and vaginal infections.

Great food sources of friendly bugs:

Yoghurt: live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade, is one of the best probiotic foods around. Read your labels, as many popular brands are filled with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavours Miso: a traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup Sauerkraut: made from fermented cabbage (and sometimes other vegetables), sauerkraut is extremely rich in healthy live cultures, and may also help with reducing allergy symptoms. It’s also rich in vitamins A, B, C and E
Kefir: a close sister to yogurt, kefir is a fermented dairy product made from a combination of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. Look for a good, organic version at your local health food store, of ask a friend/or at your local market for some kefir grains and produce your own Kombucha: a form of fermented tea that contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. It has been used for centuries to help increase energy, enhance wellbeing, and maybe even help with weight loss Pickles: the common green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. The fresher the better, especially if you’ve made your own
Tempeh: a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12 Kimchi: Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage. It is a great source of beneficial bacteria (probably the best), beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2

Some of these foods may seem a bit unusual to you or difficult to prepare or find. If so, no worries, there are some great supplements on the market including:

  • Bioceuticals: offer a range of probiotics for babies, children and adults, formulated to address different types of gut issues
  • Life Space: offer a broad range of probiotics, many of which don’t need refrigeration
  • Spectrumceuticals: offer unique probiotics specifically formulated for those with allergies
  • Metagenics: a great range of probiotics in dairy free options as well as some specific strains for specific problems (Contact us now for access to Metagenics products 1300 882 303)

There are many strains of probiotics, with different quantities of these strains, and knowing which one is best for your or your family’s health can be tricky. Call the Natural Chemist for guidance and input T: 1300 882 303.

Prebiotics are selectively fermented ingredients that allow specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity of the gut microflora. They are a non-digestible carbohydrate that acts as food for the probiotics. The prebiotic comes before and helps the probiotic, and then the two can combine to have a synergistic effect, known as synbiotics.

Although prebiotics can be take in supplement form, the best way to consume these is through dietary sources such as:

Asparagus Bananas Chicory
Garlic Leek Onions

Call the Natural Chemist for input and guidance on the best way to make your gut a happier place and improve your health outcomes. T: 1300 882 303

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