Posted on | April 7, 2010 | No Comments
As the competition intensifies to provide healthy food products – more ingredients are being added to modify the profiles of food to promote health.
I frequently get asked: What is the difference between a product containing Prebiotics and Probiotics? Are they the same thing or not? And what do they do?
Both are scientifically recognized as components contained in or added to foods, that are beneficial to our health. They promote interactions with the gastrointestinal tract (GI) for better digestion. Digestive bacteria (or gut flora) make up 1 – 3kg of our total body weight. The bacteria are extremely valuable for our health and immunity and are mostly developed from milk, uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Our body contains “good bacteria” that are vital for health. Probiotics are similar to the natural bacteria that our digestive system produces and travel through the digestive tract to our intestine. Probiotics are typically concerned with the small intestine and their function is to help during the digestive process by facilitating the absorption of minerals and nutrients. Eg. Bacteria in yoghurt, milk, soy and supplements.
The health benefits of probiotics are:
- Prevention or treatment of diarrhea
- Prevention or treatment of urinary tract infections
- Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome
- Decrease of recurrence of bladder cancer
- Prevention of eczema in children
- Prevention of colic in children.
- Anti-carcinogenic and anti-microbial effects,
- Decrease triglyceride levels
- Stabilise blood glucose levels
Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not bacteria. They are non-digestible food components which are not absorbed in the digestive tract. Because they avoid digestion, they reach the colon and are metabolized by the beneficial bacteria there. In effect, Prebiotics “feed” the good bacteria. Prebiotics increase the number and the activity of probiotics in the large intestine and colon therefore promoting digestive health.
On average, the human body needs 5g of prebiotics in addition to a regular diet so that the immune system is protected and energy is produced. Either we eat foods that contain prebiotics or we take prebiotic supplements to ensure overall wellness.
Prebiotics are naturally contained in fruits, legumes and whole grains such as bananas, berries, beans, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, garlic, artichokes, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, leeks, bread, cereals, yogurt, whole grain, wheat, oatmeal, flaxseed. Additives such as inulin (soluble plant fibre) are used within products as a Prebiotic.
The health beneficial of prebiotics:
- Increased levels of “good bacteria”
- Reduced levels of bad bacteria
- Increased absorption of minerals such as calcium
- Prevention or management of diarrhea
- Relief from constipation
- Provision of daily energy requirements up to 10%
When we are healthy, our ‘gut bacteria-environment’ works perfectly and co-exist in harmony and balance without harming us. The “good bacteria” promotes good digestion, improving metabolism and makes us feel healthy.
When there is an imbalance to our ‘gut bacteria-environment’ our body can experience fatigue, sugar cravings, frequent infections and lowered immune function.
Therefore it’s important to have regular intake of both ‘pre’ and Amoxil Online ‘pro’ – biotics for optimal health.