Hi friends, happy Friday!
How is it going? Apart from the pandemic going on, I feel this is a very good time to take a pause and re-think as well as re-evaluate our life choices. Be it a career, family or health, we can afford to stop and take stock these days. Are we where we want to be? Are we doing what we wanted to do since ever? We have been running, chasing one dream and deadline after another…and in all that, we sometimes forget to appreciate what we already have. We forget to find time for little things in life which actually were why we starting running and chasing in the first place, isn’t it?
After the last post on probiotics, here comes the promised one on prebiotics.
In case the concept of probiotics is of interest to you and ideally it should be, do read my previous post here. To add on to it, today is about prebiotics and how it can help in optimizing our overall health. However, do read the post on probiotics first before you read any further (in case you missed it).
Prebiotics are food for the healthy microorganisms in our body, mainly digestive system. These are foods that induce the growth and activity of our gut-friendly bacteria and fungi. How does it help our bodies if we already are taking probiotics? Well, taking prebiotics can lead to even healthier digestive system, for one.
Prebiotics do not contain these healthy bacteria themselves (like probiotics do) but rather work as a fuel for the probiotic bacteria. On their own, prebiotics are of no use and only when combined with probiotics, are of any actual use. However, they can be powerful as they can change the composition of the microorganisms of the gut-flora.
There are few foods which combine both probiotics and prebiotics such as cheese, yogurt, kefir etc. Such foods are called synbiotics.
How Does It Work?
It’s all boils down to butyrate (and acetate and propionate…)! Butyrates, a short-chain fatty acid is produced by gut-bacteria. It not only supports the digestive system but helps in boosting immunity. It also takes care of the gut’s lining cells (by being their fuel) and stopping any inflammation happening there – as well as combating against cancer, leaky gut, obesity, diabetes, cholesterol levels and supporting mental health.
Prebiotics are smart! They know just to feed the good bacteria so rest assured, they would do their job well. Unlike probiotics, they are quite resistant to heat, stomach acids etc.
Where To Find Prebiotics
Prebiotics are mostly fibre in nature. Our body can’t digest these but the friendly bacteria in our gut, feed on it. These bacteria in turn, support healthy digestion and immune functions.
Certain foods that are rich in prebiotics are chicory roots, whole grains, bananas, onion, garlic, soyabean, legumes, bananas, asparagus, artichokes, flaxseeds, cocoa etc.
Packaged supplements are available too. Just keep in mind, probiotics and prebiotics go hand in hand.
Benefits Of Prebiotics
Apart from promoting the growth of friendly bacteria in our body and thus improving our overall health and immunity, prebiotics help with many digestive problems and promote a healthier metabolism.
Do read the previous post on probiotics to understand the benefits of probiotics which are all applicable once you take probiotics and prebiotics combined. Taking both together not just keeps you in sound physical health but also improves mental health.
Taking probiotics and prebiotics can also help in weight management if you combine it with a healthy diet with low fat/sugar intake, on a regular basis. Of course, maintaining a regular fitness regime is highly advised for magnified holistic benefits.
However, do know that lot of times, cooking and overcooking many foods can change the fibre content so it’s best to eat them raw and whole.
In The End
Do remember that you don’t need to take a prebiotic for your probiotics to work but taking them together might increase the effectiveness of your probiotics. In case of a specific medical condition especially related to immunity, do consult with your doctor/nutritionist before you start any probiotics/prebiotics.
Do join me on Instagram for more tips, info and daily dose of health/nutrition/motivation. Am going to start a series of weight management tips – general facts as well as from my own experience, on Instagram soon and I am sure you would find them helpful 🙂
Till next Friday
Namaste, Health & Peace