Probiotics, which you are probably familiar with in your yogurt or kefir, are the good bacteria in your gut that give you one of your first lines of defense against sickness. The most common good bacteria are those in the Lactobacillis and Bifidobacterium families. The benefits of probiotics include:
- helping the body produce vitamin K, which boosts the immune system
- help with absorption of nutrients from foods
- protecting the digestive system from unfriendly bacteria, yeast and fungi
- supporting normal movement of food through the intestines
- helping with symptoms of ulcers, leaky gut syndrome, and symptoms of allergies
Even though we have probiotics in our intestines, they can be killed by stress, antibiotics, chlorine, and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. Yogurt and kefir are foods that can help replenish these good bacteria, but they don't have enough density of probiotics to truly give you the amount you need for good health. This is why supplementing with high quality acidophilus and bifidus are important to support good digestive health.
Now that you know how important probiotics are to your health, you also have to know that these good bacteria have to be fed. What do probiotics eat? Prebiotics. A prebiotic is any source of food for probiotics. For the most part, prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrate fibers called oligosaccharides. You can't digest oligosaccharides but your good bacteria can. Since you can't digest these fibers, they remain in your gut and feed the good bacteria living there. Oligosaccharides are found mostly in fruits, legumes, and whole grains. For instance, soybeans, oats, whole wheat, and barley all have oligosaccharides. Another common source of these fibers is inulin, which can be derived from Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, and chicory root. Any easy way to get your probiotics and prebiotics at the same time is with this convenient powedered supplement that also has AFA bluegreen algae, digestive enzymes, and antioxidant-rich wheat sprouts.
Your gut health contributes greatly to your overall health and depends on having healthy live good bacteria. Feeding your probiotics with prebiotics will help keep them healthy and working to keep you healthy.