Healthy, Live Beneficial Bacteria
The importance of probiotics has long been known. These live bacteria have proven beneficial for combating issues within the gastrointestinal tract and keeping the digestive system working optimally and play an important role in strengthening the immune system. Probiotics are found in the cultures of dairy products, including yogurts as well as in fermented foods.
For those on a whole Food Plant Based Diet however, the cousins of probiotics — namely prebiotics — are much lesser known, being relatively a new field of nutritional research – though this is changing with each passing day ; prebiotics freely available through a wide selection of fruits and vegetables.
The importance of understanding prebiotics and how they work in conjunction with probiotics, what they are, what they do and how they help your body, is vital.
How Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Related?
- Probiotics and prebiotics both serve important health functions for the human gut.
- Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside the gastrointestinal tract. They aid in digestion by essentially cleaning out the gut so that healthy bowel elimination takes place, regularly. Like all living things, probiotics need to be fed in order to remain active and healthy, and to benefit one as much as possible.
Prebiotics act as food for probiotics. Prebiotics are derived from insoluble fibre and fructooligosaccharides or FOS (carbohydrate molecules made up of a relatively small number of simple sugars).
- Furthermore, prebiotics are heat resistant, which keep them intact during the baking process and allow them to be incorporated into every day food choices. Prebiotics are sourced from indigestible fibres, that allow for the growth of bio-cultures to reach the intestine unaffected by the digestion process; this positive, unaltered process is known as the prebiotic effect and ensure de good digestive health. The positive effects prebiotics have by reaching the intestine in an unaltered form is known as the prebiotic effect. Bio-cultures contain living, gut-friendly bacteria (lactobacilli) that help maintain a healthy intestinal tract and immune system.
A prebiotic effect occurs when there is an increase in the activity of healthy bacteria in the human intestine. These healthy bacteria provide many health benefits including better bowel regularity and calcium absorption. The prebiotics stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the gut and increase resistance to invading pathogens.
Bifidobacteria are one of the major genera of bacteria that make up the gut flora that reside in the colon. Bifidobacteria aid in digestion and are used as probiotics in supplements.
Lactobacilli are a major part of the lactic acid bacteria group, named as such because most of its members convert lactose and other sugars to lactic acid. In humans they are present in the gastrointestinal tract, where they are symbiotic and make up a small portion of the gut flora. The production of lactic acid makes its environment acidic which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
This effect is induced by consuming functional foods that contain prebiotics. These foods induce metabolic activity, leading to health improvements. Healthy bacteria in the intestine can combat unwanted bacteria, providing a number of health benefits.
Difference Between Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are a dietary fibre that trigger the growth of bacteria, having favourable effects on the intestinal flora. Dietary fibre is considered the portion of plant cells that are resistant to hydrolysis and human digestion. This allows the fibre to reach the colon undigested, allowing fermentation by the microflora. Inulin is metabolised in the gut the same way as dietary fibre. Since they are not absorbed in the small intestine, calorie value is significantly lower than carbohydrates. As a result of the dietary fibre reaching the colon, there is an increase in biomass. If appropriate liquid intake is met to stay well hydrated, the fibres are able to ferment. This results in increased faecal bulk and frequency promoting regularity and alleviating constipation.
Probiotics, however, are live micro-organisms contained in the food we eat. They remain intact throughout the digestive process, and deliver healthy bacteria directly to the large intestine. Since probiotics do not stimulate metabolic activity they provide a different set of benefits than prebiotics. Both sets of benefits are valuable for our health wellness, and can act synbiotically to provide numerous health benefits. (Synbiotics refer to nutritional supplements that combine both pre and probiotics in a form of synergism). In fact, the benefits of consuming both prebiotics and probiotics are so strong that synbiotic products (products in which both a probiotic and a prebiotic are combined) are being developed as functional foods. HOWEVER, we are of the opinion that supplementing with pre and probiotics is unnecessary, provided you are following our programs and use NATURAL sources of both biotics.
Adding Prebiotics to Every Day Food Choices
If all dietary requirements are met – 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day – this would provide sufficient dietary fibre and supplemental prebiotics would not be necessary. However, the vast majority of the population do not meet these requirements, their diets being based primarily on processed foods.
The purpose of these pages is not to suggest that you select ONLY these foods to supplement your deficiency, but to show you that if you are eating a healthy balanced diet, eating from the rainbow, and excluding toxic foods, restore your gut-health, then your body will automatically receive the nutrients it needs. Whilst the list of foods that we recommend you exclude from your diet is currently on our Daily Nutrition page – it is vital that in order to gain good health, you begin this exclusion process as soon as possible.
The Whole Food Plant based plate gives a good indication of the The Four Food Groups. For a balanced diet follow the recommended daily servings as indicated. Use this as a guide to get you started whilst eating the foods you enjoy, until you are familiar and comfortable with the quantities and volumes you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
The DBM Food Pyramid gives a good indication of types and volumes foods that we recommend to all DBM Patients / Clients. Please remember, you may only eat the goat cheese and other goat products as indicated on that pyramid, on the advice of your DBM Physician / Practitioner.
Ensure that when selecting fruits and vegetables you Eat from The Rainbow. Whole grains and legumes form an important part of this natural, balanced lifestyle.
By eating whole foods, a wide variety of fruit and veggies (eating from the rainbow) you will get all the nutrients your body needs. To show you how wonderful fruits and veggies are – look at the graphics on the Eat From The Rainbow page and you will clearly see that a wide range of fruit and veggies will more than provide for your needs.
Please be aware that external lists or websites we link to might include fish, meat, soya, or other foods that are restricted on all DBM programs. The links are retained as a requirement of copyright. The publishing of this list is intended as educational and certain foods that this article might be listed or linked to do not support DBMs philosophies or practices.
At all times, ensure that the foods you select are permitted by your DBM Physician for your health imbalance. Select only NON-GMO sources that are organic and/or sundried.
We are obliged to notify you that the information on this website is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Doctors Across Borders NPO t/as Doctors Beyond Medicine, the author(s) nor publisher(s) take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.