It is almost impossible to talk about nutrition without talking about probiotics and prebiotics. Although probiotics and prebiotics have a huge similarity in the way they sound, they are different. Due to this, the roles they play in the body is different. Probiotics are a type of bacteria while prebiotics is the foods fed these bacteria.
What are the Roles of Probiotics and Prebiotics?
Although probiotics and prebiotics play different roles in the body, they are both needed right signals to by the body’s immune system for healthy existence as you can see on this website. Let’s take a look at the roles of probiotics and prebiotics in the body.
Probiotics are bacteria that are found in some supplements and food. They come with lots of health benefits for the body. Prebiotics, on the other hand, do not directly benefit humans. They are beneficial to the probiotics that live in the gut. Due to this, they are indirectly good for humans.
The bacteria present in the gut are known as gut microbiota or gut flora. Although they seem insignificant, they have lots of important roles to play in the body. While the place of these bacteria in the body cannot be overemphasized, for them to function at their optimum, they must be taken in the right quantity. For this to happen, then, you must feed on probiotics and prebiotics in the right quantity.
Why are Probiotics Considered Beneficial?
Although the average person considers bacteria to be harmful, they are not all harmful. Some of them are beneficial and those that are beneficial keep the body protected from the activities of bacteria that are harmful to the body. In addition to protecting the body from the activities of harmful bacteria, probiotics also regulate inflammations by sending the immune system the right signals. Furthermore, these bacteria form short-chain fatty acids and vitamin K.
The presence of the short-chain fatty acids that are formed by probiotics are beneficial to the cells which line the colon. They serve as a source of nutrients to these cells. By providing these cells with the right nutrients, these short-chain fatty acids formed by probiotics strengthen the gut barrier which protects the gut from harmful substances. In addition to this, they greatly reduce the likelihood of cancers and inflammations.
What is the Effect of Food on the Gut Microbiota?
There are certain factors that affect the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. One of these factors is food. A simple example of this is meals that are rich in fat and sugar have a negative influence on the bacteria in the gut. When this happens harmful species have the opportunity to grow. If you make it a habit to constantly feed harmful bacteria that live in the gut, then, you will be empowering them to grow rapidly and there will not be good bacteria in the right amount to prevent their growth and activities. In addition to causing general harm to your body. The imbalance between bad bacteria and good bacteria might cause the body to absorb more calories than it would if the gut had a better balance of good and bad bacteria.
Furthermore, when foods are treated with pesticides, they could have a negative effect on the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut. While this is generally believed to be true, it is not yet confirmed. Lots of studies are being carried out to ascertain the influence of foods treated with pesticides on the gut.
According to a series of researches, when antibiotics are taken, they could lead to a complete change in some type of bacteria. While this change does not always occur, they are very pronounced in children and adolescents.
What Foods Provide the Body with Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are not probiotics. However, they are just as important as probiotics. This is because probiotics need them to survive. The implication of this is you will have to discover ways to get prebiotics if you must have the right balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
In the bid to get prebiotics, the average person would opt to buy pricey prebiotics supplements. While purchasing prebiotics supplements might seem like the easiest way to get the needed quantity of prebiotics, you do not have to depend on supplements before getting prebiotics. This is because prebiotics can be gotten from natural foods.
Prebiotics can be gotten from vegetables, legumes, and fruits. While humans are unable to digest the fibers that are found in prebiotics, the good bacteria in the gut are able to digest these fibers.
When looking to get the right amount of prebiotics needed by the body, some of the foods you can feed on include bananas, oats, berries, beans, peas, asparagus, garlic, dandelion greens, leeks, onions, etc.
When prebiotic fiber finds its way into the body, probiotics convert them into short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory properties.
What Foods Provide Probiotics
Probiotics can be gotten from supplements as well as from certain foods. While there are quite a number of foods that provide probiotics, yogurts are one of the most trusted sources of probiotics. In addition to yogurts, other foods that can provide probiotics are kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
Kombucha is famous across the world. It, however, is more commonly consumed in Asia. It is fermented by yeast and a colony of bacteria. There are lots of reports on the effectiveness of Kombucha in providing the body with probiotics when consumed. Although these claims are widespread, there is no strong enough evidence of the ability of Kombucha to provide the body with probiotics.
Kimchi is a meal that is popular in Korea. It is made up of cabbage and other vegetables. It is also flavored with ginger, garlic, red chili pepper flakes, salt, and scallion.
When looking to get probiotics from foods, ensure that such foods are not pasteurized. This is because the process of pasteurizing foods can kill bacteria.
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