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Healthy Edge Advantages Of Adding Probiotics And Prebiotics To Your Diet

Apr 1, 2008
Fermented foods and beverages have played an important role in human diets in many different cultures throughout the world for generations. First and foremost it was used as a food preservation tool before the advent of modern-day cold storage methods.

Recently, within the last decade, modern nutritional research science is revealing just how important these type of foods, and their active related bacterial ingredients, really are to human digestive health. As with nearly anything else, and despite what food manufacturers will try to conveniently mass market, mainly for taste, homemade is nearly always best. And, homemade fermented food and beverages are no exception. From yogurt to kefir, sauerkraut, and many possible others, you will surely find a type of fermented food that suits your taste. Besides, learning how to make your own at home is not hard, time consuming, or expensive at all, and it can really be quite fun in keeping an old food preservation method alive. Involve your whole family, even kids love learning something new.

Our knowledge of these health enhancing germs, which are present in fermented foods and beverages, is definitely increasing. Most everyone already knows that frequently eating a popular dairy food product, yogurt, can provide the digestive tract with extra beneficial bacterial flora. As mentioned earlier, you will have to look beyond supermarket store varieties. Most, if not all, are sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Questionable too, is how much bacterial nutrition remains after pasteurization kills off, if not all, lactic acid producing bacteria.

Researchers are now discovering that a healthy population of good bacteria in the gut may also enhance nutrient absorption. Another study revealed that this type of nutrition increases blood levels of several B vitamins. And yet, two other investigations, one using only lactobacillis, the other using lactobacillis and bifidobacterium (both of which are found in yogurt) are associated with higher blood consentration levels of antioxidants.

What these last two investigations seem to suggest, is that adding a combination of probiotics (such as lactobacillis, bifidobacterium, and several others) with prebiotics may help lower the risks, or improve outcomes, of already established oxidative stress diseases like hardening of the arteries, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, liver disease, and other diseases associated with inflammation.

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are classified as prebiotics. They are short and medium chains of fructose, a commonly occurring form of natural sugar found in most unprocessed plant foods like garlic, onions, bananas, nuts, and honey. They have the ability to selectively promote the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria flora by feeding its survival.

Another added benefit of prebiotics are they also enhance the absorption of calcium, possibly magnesium as well, by lowering the risk of osteoporosis, suppresses the activity of cancer causing enzymes in the large bowel lowering the risk of colon cancer, and lowers blood triglyceride levels by regulating blood sugar spikes. Plus, cultivating healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract like bifidobacterium, which produces lactic acids, helps inhibit the over growth of pathogenic bacterial germs that can cause illnesses.

Fortunately, we do not live in a sterile environment. In modern medicine's quest, and enthusiasm, to eliminate harmful pathogens that causes sickness, we have inadvertently harmed ourselves in the run. Those same bacteria killing drugs also destroy good bacteria colonies essential to our survival. Therefore, it is especially important to re-establish friendly germs back into the intestinal tract after a round of antibiotic use, or after a severe bout with diarrhea or vomiting.

Weekly, or daily, replenishment is recommended for added protection, in the avoidance of future communicative illnesses like the common cold, flu, or infections. If you think daily consumption may be a bit obsessive, consider this. If you by meat at a local retail outlet, or eat out a lot, it is a safe bet that you are ingesting antibiotics, as this is common in commercially produced livestock. It is avoidable if you choose a cleaner meat product in buying organic, or know the farm from which it came.

In conclusion then, it would seem like a rather wise, and obvious, idea to add fermented foods, with their wide variety of beneficial bacteria, to an already healthy food diet plan, along with bacterial growth stimulating whole plant food sugar substances. Combine them with any daily added vitamin/mineral supplements. Why not get as much bang for your buck as you possibly can, by putting in a little extra nutritional effort that will help your body better assimilate the investment you may be making in buying quality nutritional food supplements?

Increasing water consumption, as to be three-fourths of what to be drinking everyday, tremendously helps transport the prebiotics nutrients to help feed the probiotic bacteria. Water also carries away toxic residues away and out of the digestive system. Water is the ultimate energizing fluid fuel the body needs.
About the Author
Brenda Skidmore has spent the last five years actively researching natural health care alternatives. It is her sincere desire to empower others by sharing this important information. To improve your health today visit
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