Probiotics vs. Prebiotics—What’s the Difference?

You have probably heard or seen the words probiotic and prebiotic more than once.  Maybe you’ve seen it on your yogurt carton or read an article in a magazine about them.  So…what’s the fuss about?  Why are probiotics and prebiotics so important for your diet and what’s the difference between the two?

First of all, you need to know that more than 400 types of microorganisms are living in your gastrointestinal tract—right now, at this moment.  It may disgust you, but many of them are actually healthy.  However, some are not.  The healthy bacteria are there to protect your body against the unhealthy bacteria.  They also help your body digest food and use some important vitamins you get from that digested food.

So what is a probiotic?  It is a live microorganism that is beneficial in many ways.  It stimulates the growth of microorganisms with beneficial properties.  In simpler words—it encourages the growth of the “good” bacteria in your digestive system.  Probiotics synthesize vitamins, particularly B vitamins that are necessary for several body functions.  They have been known to decrease allergies and dental caries.  Individuals with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease may see an improvement in their symptoms if they make probiotics part of their diet.  These “good” bacteria can also improve cholesterol levels and decrease one’s risk for colon cancer.  The wide range of probiotic health benefits is very convincing and makes you wonder why anyone would be discouraged to take them.  There is a list of foods containing probiotics including yogurt, cottage cheese, fresh sauerkraut, soy sauce and buttermilk—just to name a few.  Probiotics can also be taken in the form of a supplement.

A prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that “feeds” the probiotics.  Because of them, beneficial bacteria are able to thrive in the digestive tract.  It is important to consume prebiotics and probiotics at the same time to sustain the life of the probiotic.  Prebiotics enhance mineral absorption, particularity calcium, iron and magnesium.  Because of their ability to enhance calcium absorption, they can decrease one’s risk for developing osteoporosis and other bone conditions.   Same as probiotics, prebiotics are known to improve cholesterol levels and decrease risks for colon cancer.  You can obtain prebiotics from foods such as: chicory root, bananas, wheat, rye, barley, berries, honey, flax, oatmeal, garlic, onions, leafy greens, legumes—and the list goes on.

To enhance the benefits of probiotics, you can consider incorporating resistant starch into your diet.  They have a function similar to that of prebiotics—they help to feed probiotics.  This substance is found in cooked starchy products.

Supplements for probiotics and prebiotics are available, but you need to be cautious when deciding which to purchase.  This is because probiotics in supplements aren’t always live—and they are only beneficial when they are live.  Accuflora has been found to be highly survivable throughout the digestive process…this is important because probiotics will not even technically be considered a probiotic if they aren’t alive.  Prebiotic supplements come in many forms, and you can talk to a doctor or decide for yourself which is the best for you.

Probiotics and prebiotics should be emphasized in everyone’s diet.  They provide the body with benefits that range from the digestive system to the cardiovascular system.  Something like that should not be ignored.  Make changes to your diet if you don’t think you consume enough of these healthy microorganisms.  And remember, not all bacteria is bad!

Brianna Elliott is a third year dietetics student.  She has grown a passion for nutrition through her years of studying.  She thinks it is important for people to learn about probiotics and prebiotics because of how healthy they are for the various body systems.  Brianna also contributes regularly to ProbioticSmart.com – the web’s leading product and information hub for probiotics.

Remedies for Colon Cleansing

Cleansing the colon is important for keeping the body strong and healthy. Doctors use a variety of procedures for colon cleansing, but many of the same results can be attained from home treatments. With the right tools and ingredients, you will be able to clean out your digestive system from the comfort of your home. Listed below is a basic guide on how to detox your body.

Fasting

Fasting is well known as one of the best ways to lose weight fast, but it is also a great way to clean out the colon. Fasting will give the digestive organs a chance to rest, allowing them to flush out any wastes that may be hindering your stomach’s processing system. Your organs are constantly working to digest food, so giving them a much-needed rest can be very beneficial for your body. During a detox fast, you should only eat fruits, vegetables, and select carbohydrates. Fasting can cause health problems if done for too long, so a detox should not last more than a week.

Probiotics

Probiotics play a vital role in killing harmful parasites in the body. Your digestive system contains both harmful and beneficial parasites, so probiotics will help encourage the growth of beneficial parasites. Probiotics can be found in pill form, but the best natural sources come from garlic, bananas, and onions.

Soups

Soups have been used for thousands of years as natural cleansers. If you do not want to follow a strict detox regimen, eating detox soups for your meals will still help your stomach to flush out wastes. A variety of different vegetables can be used for detox soups, including peas, cabbages, beans, celery, garlic, potatoes, and peas. Avoid using butter or oil since it may clog your digestive system and lead to the accumulation of wastes and chemcials.

Cleanse Your Colon Naturally

A healthy colon will promote your overall bodily health. Your colon does not use the nutrients or food in the body, but it will use the potassium and water that are both valuable resources to keep the body healthy.

Good health always begins with a healthy colon and the foods that you consume. It is important to keep your colon healthy to avoid health problems that may quickly develop.

There are many ways how to cleanse your colon. Anyone can complete a colon cleanse naturally regardless of age or gender.

A good way to promote healthy living is to consume large amounts of water. Water is a bodily necessity and is useful for health and cleansing colon toxins. The ability to pass necessary fluids through your colon will always help to keep it clean.

Eating yogurt is another tested way to colon cleanse naturally. The bacterium included in yogurt is useful to digestion and can promote more healthy living. The colon benefits from this bacteria and it will naturally cleanse the colon to keep the body healthy.

The consumption of high fiber foods is an excellent way of cleansing colon toxins. This suppresses your appetite and is useful for the body. These high fiber foods are essential to the entire digestive system because it allows the absorption of nutrients and will decrease any constipation.

Drinking fruit juice is another way to cleanse your colon. If you do not like water, fruit juice is the next best thing. These juices include nutrients and fiber and are easily absorbed in the body. This eases the digestive system and allows the colon help promote your healthy living.

You can keep your colon in good health by using these tips. You can also use these tips to help live and enjoy a more healthy and productive lifestyle.