Health

Health Benefits of Probiotics

image of an oatmeal and fruit bowl
The talk of probiotics has been a hot topic in the health industry for the past decade. It’s a billion dollar market that’s expected to reach $65 billion by the end of 2024, according to a report by Zion Market Research.

In this post, we’ll be exploring what probiotics are, how they can benefit us and the best probiotic foods that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
image of an oatmeal and fruit bowl

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast that are found naturally in the body. They help maintain gut health and can be found in a variety of fermented foods and supplements. For probiotics to benefit our bodies, they must be properly “fed” or fertilized by sustaining prebiotic fibers.

Probiotics and Prebiotics: What’s the difference?

First let’s delve into the organ that is our colon, also known as our large bowel or long intestine where waste product solidifies and turn to stool and where over 1000 separate bacterial species reside. According to gastroenterologist, Dr.Frank W. Jackson, the number of bacteria it holds reaches tens of billions which is more than 10x the number of cells in our entire body. Our colon is the main location where prebiotics and probiotics end up. When treated right, it can provide amazing benefits for our health.
anatomy of the lower digestive system
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The major difference of probiotics and prebiotics is what happens in the colon. Probiotics colonise the colon. Prebiotics acts as a rich fertilizer that selects to enrich and enhance the good bacteria that we already have. They are non-digestible carbohydrates and fibers that pass through the small intestine and is fermented in the colon. Unlike probiotics that can be found naturally in our body, prebiotics are only found in plants like vegetables which include asparagus, leeks and yams.

Importance of bacteria, digestive health and our immunity

We have over 100 trillion ‘healthy’ bacteria living in our body. Bacteria aids our body with digesting food and absorbing nutrients. Most of them take shelter in our gut. They are resilient living organisms that are found everywhere, from our environment and inside and outside our body. Good bacteria helps prevent diseases while bad bacteria facilitates it and inhibits our immune system. Good gut health plays a key role in overall sense of well-being.

The biggest influence you can have on your gut lining, and a healthy microbiome, is your diet – which you can control.” – Jeanette Hyde, Nutritional Therapist BSc.
70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract and is responsible for protecting us from infection and disease. An inflamed and compromised intestinal lining can pave way for health issues such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).

Study Between Depression and Bacteria

A 2019 study published on Nature Microbiology has shown that two strains of gut bacteria, Coprococcus and Dialister, were capable of producing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which controls mood and behaviour. The study consisted of 2,000 European participants and showed that those who were deficient in these bacteria, had an increased incidence to depression.

Although there still needs to be more research conducted on this link, scientists believe that these bacterias could be good probiotic supplements to treat mental health.

Benefits of Probiotics

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Probiotic and Prebiotic foods

Probiotics

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Fermented Food (kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, natto)
  • Kombucha
  • Pickled Food

Prebiotics

  • Fruits (bananas, apples, tomatoes, berries)
  • Vegetables(beans, cabbages, leafy greens)
  • Root Vegetables(onions, leeks, garlic, chicory root, carrots)
  • Whole Grains(oats, barley)
  • Psyllium Husk

Let’s Discuss

Have you added probiotics or prebiotics into your lifestyle? If so, have you seen improvements in your health? Let us know in the comment section below.

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