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Probiotics and Prebiotics – Supporting Your Gut Health for Immune Support

- Posted 04/21/2015 Tags: , , ,
Probiotics and Prebiotics – Supporting Your Gut Health for Immune Support

 

What are Probiotics?

 

Probiotics are the “healthy” bacteria that needs to be present within your gut. Everyone has a combination of “bad” bacteria and “good” bacteria, and maintaining the right balance between these microbes is the foundation of your overall health. When there aren’t enough good bacteria present, it allows the bad bacteria to overgrow.

 

The only way to restore balance is to include more sources of probiotics in your diet. In fact, probiotics control the harmful overgrowth of the bad bacteria. It is possible to get probiotics from natural food sources, or you can also use a high quality supplement. I personally like and use Klaire Labs.

 

What are Prebiotics?

 

Prebiotics are also important for health, and they are non-digestible carbohydrates that are food sources for the probiotics. If you are taking probiotic supplements, then they will be much more effective if you are using prebiotics at the same time. These healthy ingredients will create the perfect environment for the probiotics to thrive and grow.

 

The best sources of prebiotics are within the food choices that you make. Unfortunately, there are no food sources that contain both probiotics and prebiotics, because these types of foods are very different. So, you need to think about food combinations in order to get the health benefits from the probiotics that you are using.

 

When you are using a probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods, then make sure to add a good source of prebiotics to your diet as well. These are a few healthy ingredients with prebiotics: bananas, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, legumes, and oatmeal.

 

Should I use Fermented Foods or Supplements?

 

There are many types of fermented food that provide the natural probiotics that your body needs, but most people don’t consume enough of these fermented foods in order to get enough probiotics. You should make a proactive effort to consume more of these foods, so that you can boost the healthy bacteria in your gut. Food sources of probiotics include: kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

 

You can make your own fermented foods at home, or buy high quality fermented foods from trusted retailers. It is important that you understand the manufacturing process though, because many of these companies will make the fermented foods and then pasteurize them during the packaging process. The pasteurization is designed to maintain the safety of the food, but the problem is that the high levels of heat kill the live probiotics that your body needs.

 

The easiest and most effective way to get the probiotics that are needed for optimal health is by using a high quality supplement. You can buy probiotic supplements from your health food store, and you should look for a supplement that contains at least 10 billion (or more!) colony forming units (CFU). This high CFU count will ensure maximum benefits from the supplements that you are using.

 

When you take the probiotic supplements, make sure to pair them with the prebiotic foods listed above. Certain high quality supplements might include both probiotics and prebiotics, so you should read the label to understand exactly what you are buying.

 

Health Benefits of Probiotics

 

Doctors have found evidence that probiotics can be very beneficial for a number of health conditions. These supplements are helpful for overall immune boosting, as well as treating diarrhea, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and intestinal infections. Many people find that the right combination of probiotics and prebiotics help them to reduce the frequency that they get sick, and also reduce the severity of a cold or the flu.

 

Tips for Using Probiotic Supplements

 

Keep in mind that probiotics are very sensitive, and they can be damaged by heat or stomach acid before the body has the opportunity to use them. So, it is important that you are using a high quality supplement to ensure that the probiotics are delivered to your digestive tract.

 

Make sure that you take probiotics on an empty stomach, with just a little bit of the prebiotic foods. These supplements should be taken at least 30 minutes before you eat a meal, because the extra time will allow the probiotics to get farther into the digestive tract before you consume more food that will slow down the digestive process.

 

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