Back to Health: Probiotics and Prebiotics
What are they?
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are found in our stomach and intestinal tract. Believe it or not, we have more microorganisms living inside our “gut” than we have cells in our bodies. In optimal levels, these microorganisms assist our body with digestion and immune protection. However, if these helpful bacteria are out of balance, both our digestion and general health suffer greatly.
Prebiotics are a group of fiber-rich foods that help the “good” probiotics flourish within our “gut”. You should think of the prebiotics as a fertilizer that is necessary to optimalize our probiotic crops.
Which food sources provide probiotics?
• Sour foods (sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar)
• Kefir –fermented milk
• Kombucha –a fermented tea
• Natto –Japanese fermented soybeans
• Miso –Japanese fermented soybean paste
• Kvass – Slavic beverage made from rye bread
• Raw Dairy
Which food sources provide prebiotics?
• Jerusalem Artichokes
• Chicory Root
• Sweet Potato
• Acacia Gum
What can negatively impact our probiotic cultures in our gut?
The overutilization of antibiotics in both personal medication usage and within the farming communities has a negative impact on our gut microflora. In addition, our cleaning and packaging practices have become more effective at eliminating bacterial colonies within our foods that has both helped us from ingesting bad bacteria but has harmed us by reducing the “good” bacteria that we used to consume. Other things that can reduce our microflora within the gut are largely related to poor quality living habits and include: high stress, poor sleep, sugar consumption, gluten consumption, alcohol ingestion, lack of exercise, and smoking.
Why should I consider supplementing my diet with them?
If your diet is rich in the pre- and probiotic foods and you are eating fresh farm raised product and leading a stress-free, active lifestyle, then don’t waste your money. Otherwise, it is prudent to give your “gut” and immune system a fighting chance against the litany of harmful food products and stressful lifestyle we are bombarded with daily.
Dr. Custer is the owner/operator of Better Care Chiropractic and Physical Therapy clinics. In addition to chiropractic and physical therapy, Better Care clinics also offer Massage Therapy and Personal Training. Our goal is to promote a rapid and full recovery for each patient. Dr. Custer combines his 15 plus years of experience in injury rehabilitation (as an athletic trainer) with his chiropractic education to promote a fast and efficient recovery process.
If you have questions/comments/suggestions, please feel free to contact Dr. Custer at [email protected].