Dietitian’s Corner presented by Big Y
Balance Your Body with Pre-and Probiotics
Your body is home to trillions of microorganisms, most of which are found within the digestive system. these tiny cells are responsible for many things, such as digesting food, preventing disease and infection, producing vitamins and aiding in the absorption of nutrients. unfortunately, many factors can reduce the balance of healthful bacteria, such as age, lack of physical activity, poor diet quality, stress, certain medications, including antibiotics, and overall lifestyle behaviors.
PREBIOTICS: Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients, which have been shown to promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your digestive system. Essentially, they can be thought of as “food” for probiotics. Thankfully, there’s no need to purchase expensive supplements or products with added prebiotics, because these naturally occurring fibers are found in many common foods. Increase your prebiotic intake by enjoying bananas, leeks, asparagus, chicory, garlic, onion, wheat, oats and soybeans.
PROBIOTICS: Unlike prebiotics, probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to provide specific health benefits. Though more studies need to be completed, emerging research is now looking at the use of these gut-friendly bacteria to maintain a healthy digestive system, as well as for playing a role in boosting immunity. Where can you find these helpful bacteria? In addition to supplements, probiotics are typically found in abundance in fermented foods such as tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and kefir.
Individuals, who are generally healthy, rarely experience side effects when incorporating probiotics into their meal plans. Those with weakened immune systems should always speak to their healthcare providers before making changes to their current diets. Additionally, since different strains of probiotics provide unique health benefits, speak to your doctor to learn which types may be best for you.
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