Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
What are prebiotics and probiotics?
A healthy stomach is important for general health, and the health of your stomach is mostly determined by what you eat. Vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, fat, and water-rich foods provide you the energy you need to go through your day and keep your body healthy.
Apart from all these important and healthy elements for your fitness, prebiotics plays an essential role in maintaining and improving your gut health. Prebiotics are the healthy fiber that supports the functioning of good bacteria (probiotics) in your stomach to make your digestive system healthier.
Your abdomen is full of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are good bacteria that are born and bred inside your body. They help fight against any virus or disease that affects your immunity and causes infection. When your immune system gets attacked by infectious ailments it indicates that you have more bad bacteria than good. Good bacteria or probiotics helps eliminate these bad bacteria and bringing the balance back.
Importance of prebiotics
Prebiotics promotes the health of beneficial bacteria in your gut, that aids in holding your immune system strong to fight against any infection-causing viruses by keeping your digestive system healthy. Prebiotics support in keeping the stomach thriving in the following ways-
- Assists in calcium absorption
- Helps in controlling the blood sugar level and protecting you from diabetes
- Provide energy to digest food faster (fermentation). This eliminates the chances of contracting constipation
- Promotes the health of good bacteria that keeps your gut healthy
Importance of probiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms that live in your stomach and help to keep your digestive system healthy. According to studies, your general health and sickness are mostly influenced by your digestion, and probiotic bacteria not only aid in healthy ingestion and the battle against infectious viruses but also assist you in the following ways:
- Help and balance the presence of friendly bacteria in your stomach
- Helps in preventing and curing your stomach of diseases like diarrhea
- They may also promote your mental health and heart health
- Probiotics can prevent you from allergies and eczema
- Probiotics may help promote your immunity and maintain body weight
Importance of a healthy gut
Your gut is full of bacteria, fungi, and viruses (commonly termed microbiomes) and they are responsible for your overall health and body functioning. Some bacteria can cause certain serious and non-serious diseases and some bacteria prevent you from these diseases.
The gut microbiome is present in your body from the time of your birth and mutates as you keep growing. Researches have proved that the more microbiome you have in your body, the healthier your stomach will be. It is crucial to remember that the health of your beneficial bacteria is mostly determined by the foods you eat.
A sizeable increase in the gut microbiome affects your health in various ways, such as:
- It promotes your heart health and mental health
- It improves your overall body functioning
- Increases your immunity power
- Improves your body weight
- Good gut health aids in maintaining the health of the baby in the womb
- It helps the newborn babies in the digestion of breast milk
- Makes your digestive tract healthier
- It promotes your brain health
Fun Fact: The weight of the overall microbiome present in your body can be 1-2 kilos. This is roughly the weight of your brain.
Which foods contain prebiotics?
It is important to consume foods rich in prebiotics to promote the health of good bacteria. Some of them are-
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Garlic, onion, and spring onions
- Savoy cabbage
- Chickpeas and lentils
- Red kidney beans, soybeans, and baked beans
- Banana, watermelon, custard apples, and grapefruit
- Bran, barley, and oats
Which foods contain probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria present in your stomach. It promotes your heart health, reduces depression, and improves digestive health. Here are a few food products that are rich in probiotics-
- Fermented soybean products (tempeh)
- Kombucha (green or black tea)
What if you don’t consume enough prebiotics and probiotics?
When your body does not obtain enough nutrients to support the health of beneficial bacteria in your stomach, the impacts of bad bacteria on your body become more pronounced. If you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria, you could notice the following symptoms:
- Digestive issues (diarrhea or constipation)
- Can affect heart health
- An upset stomach can affect your work-life like school, college, or office
- Frequent symptoms of nausea and fatigue
- Affect mental health
- Can make you prone to viral diseases
- Can cause infections
- Frequent abdominal pain
Taking supplements to promote the health of beneficial bacteria is also an option. But you may not find the word ‘prebiotic’ or ‘probiotic’ on those supplements. You should look for some alternative terms on the label like-
- Chicory fiber
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