This was supposed to be in my December newsletter, but it didn’t fit. I did get it in the 2007 review newsletter which will be available next week on my website.
Our intestines contain communities of microbes—good and bad. Pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi grow to claim more territory from L. Acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria. As long as a healthy balance remains, we are free from diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, ulcers, other GI concerns and cancers, as well as free from yeast infections and lowered immunity. Our intestinal walls contain eighty percent of our immune system. Poor diet, lifestyle, medications can alter the gut flora lowering our immunity.
We are more educated on the benefits of probiotics for intestinal health and immunity. Practitioners recommend taking probiotics or yogurt following a course of antibiotics to facilitate the growth of the beneficial bacteria the prescription destroyed. Probiotics change gut chemistry to deter harmful bacterial growth, create compounds that destroy existing microbes, and crowd out bad bacteria competing for nutrients and more space throughout the intestinal walls. Bad bacteria usually feeds on sugars and insoluble fiber, good bacteria prefers a little healthier fare.
Now you can encourage good bacteria growth with every day foods or supplements considered prebiotics. Soluble fiber provides bulk to clear waste and carcinogens from the intestines, prebiotics, in the form of soluble fiber, take that one step further and facilitate the growth of good bacteria. Inulin and FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) are the most common soluble fiber foods we ingest. When you add asparagus, artichokes, onions, bananas, garlic, leek and chicory to your daily meals you are increasing your inulin and FOS intake. FOS is also found in psyllium, oat bran, and apple pectin. Fiber in oats, barley, berries, and legumes also encourage probiotic growth. Dietary phenol found in legumes, tea, red wine, fruit, berries and dark chocolate inhibit harmful bacterial growth. All these common foods promote health gut flora.
Prebiotics will encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria and work with probiotics to reduce disease risk and improve intestinal health. These foods and supplements could reduce inflammation from bowel disease, encourage beneficial bacteria, lower cholesterol, increase resistance to infection, increase calcium uptake for improved bone health. If you are treating a specific condition you may want to try a supplement to receive an accurate dose. Daily amounts larger than 8 grams can increase GI discomfort.