PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS
Learn What They Are and Why They’re Good for You
Basically, everyone has bacteria living in their digestive tracts; some of it can make you sick, but other microbes actually can keep you healthy by keeping bad bacteria and yeast at bay. Many strains of good probiotic bacteria already exist in your gut, helping you better digest food and improving your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. When you take antibiotics for an infection, the drugs can kill off the good bacteria in your digestive tract, which is why many women get yeast infections when they take antibiotics. Probiotics and prebiotics can help the beneficial bacteria grow back.
Scientists and doctors are also finding that both probiotics and prebiotics can help prevent diarrhea, vaginal infections (especially yeast infections), irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections, and even chronic fatigue syndrome by keeping a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut.
PROBIOTICS—You Can Find Them in Food
You can also take probiotic supplements, but again, make sure they contain live active cultures; either Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, and always check with your doctor before taking any new supplement.
PREBIOTICS–Nourishment for the Good Bacteria
Prebiotics are non-digestible foods that provide nourishment for the helpful, probiotics in your digestive tract. The most common kind of prebiotic is Fructo-oligosacchardies, or carbohydrate fibers, which occur naturally in foods such as leeks, soybeans, onions, garlic and whole grains like oats and wheat. Prebiotics travel through your digestive system untouched and are available for probiotic bacteria to use as nutrition. Some prebiotics have been shown to provide health benefits such as improved digestive function and better absorption of minerals. Yogurt, cereal, bread and other food that advertises added fiber often contain oligosacchardies. Fructo-oligosaccharides may also be taken as supplements and are found in health food stores.
Important Tips On Taking Probiotic and Prebiotic Supplements
Article Written By: Julie Mitchell; Julie is an accomplished writer from San Francisco who loves ballet, yoga, walking, cooking and reading. Her experience as a wife and mother of two lend to her articles and blogs for DivaVillage.com and VillageMAMA.com in the areas of wellness, fitness, beauty, parenting and food.