Because good health begins there say experts who advocate Prebiotics and Probiotics.
Junk food, antibiotics, irregular eating patterns, stress-our bodies are being set up for a sluggish digestive system, which in turn slows down the rest of your bodily processes. But it’s not your about bloating or irritable bowel syndrome. Researchers are seeing more and more other diseases beginning in the gut: everything from depression to Alzheimer’s. We are still trying to work out the hows and whys,” says Dr Govind Nandakumar, Cheif of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospitals, Bengaluru. So what we can do is keep a balanced gut.
The gut is literally the large intestine. with an entire ecosystestine of bacteria and yeast, some beneficial, others toxic. The aim is always to Keep up the ‘good bacteria’ And we can do this with eating prebiotics and probiotics. Well get to what they are in a minute, but for starters, “Eat a diverse range of foods. it gives a diverse microbiota (the colony of organisms that inhabit the gut) that’s considered healthy,” says Deepalekha Banerjee, a dietician in Chennai. Naturally, you want to avoid junk and packages foods, as well as too much eating out. This could affect the delicate gut lining, causing a reduction in the absorption of micronutrients.
“Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to keep the digestive system healthy, by ensuring proper digestion of food and ‘absorption of nutrients,” says Dr Neerja Hajela, Secretary, Gut Microbiota and probiotic Science Foundation (India). They are also crucial for the growth, development, and maturation of the immune system. They are defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization as “live microorganisms which when consumed to adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.
“They protect us from ‘bad’ bacteria that spread infection, escalate a weight gain and sugar cravings. ” says Ariella Blank, Co Founder of Atmosphere Health Studio. They also help our bodies produce essential vitamins such as vitamin B12 and vitamin K, both common deficiencies. Probiotic food sources include sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha, Kefir, Yoghurt, Paneer buttermilk, dhokla, idli, pickled vegetables.
“When buying market products, always go for active, live cultures. Check that the product has been refrigerated, the concentration of probiotics and their expiration date – the date until which those concentration are guaranteed to be a active,” says blank. Look out for added sugar which is going to feed the bad bacteria instead of the good, thus leading to sugar cravings and weight gain. Make sure apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha and pickles are raw and not Pasteurised or processed, which will actually kill and negate any of the beneficial bacteria that the product would have had initially.
Food for probiotic bacteria, they stimulate their growth in the large intestine. “They are nondigestible substances, found in fibre. They pass through the small intestine only partially digested, and so once they reach the colon, they are able to be fermented by the bacteria there,” says blank. We must eat prebiotics in order to encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria (probiotics) so that ‘they don’t easily die out once we take them.
“It is also possible to combine both prebiotic and probiotic in one product. Such foods are symbiotic, meaning that they contain both beneficial bacteria as well as a prebiotic source of fibre for the bacteria to feed on,” says blank. when you’re sick, a doctor may recommend a probiotic prebiotic supplement that must be refrigerated, or just a probiotic one, which does not. While there is no guideline on what needs, Banerjee says it’s good to increase prebiotics to 25 gm per day and probiotics to 10 million CFUs, says Banerjee. “Antibiotics non-selectively destroy colonies of beneficial gut bacteria, which need to repopulated with the good kind, “she says. Dr Nandakumar points out that antibiotics, prescribed aren’t needed. For every week of antibiotics, a month of probiotics is a good place to start.
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