Do you know what is behind probiotics and prebiotics? Read here if you want to find out what effects and health benefits small bacteria have and what natural foods the microorganisms are in - read on!
Most of all, probiotics are often related to gut health. However, probiotics do a lot more than just get your digestion going.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living microorganisms that have health benefits should if they are consumed in sufficient quantities.1 Many people associate bacteria and other microorganisms with something bad or harmful. There Billions of bacteria live in the human gut - especially in the large intestine - that multiply and help destroy cells that cause disease, that food can be digested, or that vitamins are produced.
The most common are these Bacteria from the group Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. However, yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii can also be used as probiotics.
Effect: what are probiotics good for?
Probiotics can have many different effects on the body. Since there are different probiotics, they may also work differently. Not all probiotics are created equal.
Much research has been done on probiotics, but it is still not entirely clear which probiotics are helpful and which are not. Likewise, you don't know how much probiotics people would need to take and who would be most likely to benefit from them. Researchers are still working on these questions. However, probiotics have shown promise.2 Gastrointestinal diseases in particular, such as irritable bowel syndrome, can improve with probiotics. Nevertheless, you should always speak to your doctor if you have symptoms.
Here's how probiotics can work:
- maintain the balance of microorganisms
- affect the immune system
- improve digestion.3
- relieves mental tension4
- supports heart health5
- improve various metabolic diseases6
However, it is like that Different types of probiotics also have different effects can. For example, if a certain type of Lactobactillus helps prevent disease, it doesn't necessarily mean that another type would do the same.
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Are Probiotics Harmful?
Probiotics have a good reputation and are safe to use. This mainly affects healthy people. There are not many studies that have looked at whether probiotics can have negative effects and the frequency with which side effects occur. Seriously ill patients should therefore discuss the potential risks of a probiotic diet with their doctor.
What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
Now you have an idea of what probiotics are and how you can incorporate them into your diet. You've probably heard of prebiotics before. The difference is that they have different roles in your health. Again to repeat:
Probiotics are living bacteria that are contained in certain foods or dietary supplements and have numerous health benefits. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are substances that come from carbohydrates and that humans cannot digest and that the bacteria in the digestive system feed on.
If you eat a balanced diet of probiotics and prebiotics, you can contribute to the right balance of bacteria, which should have a positive effect on your health. There are also products that combine probiotics and prebiotics, these are called synbiotics.
Which foods contain probiotics?
Many probiotic products that contain microorganisms are identical or similar to the naturally occurring microorganisms in our bodies.
Probiotic foods are:
One of the most popular foods with probiotics that can bring you health benefits is yogurt. This is made from milk and fermented mainly with lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.7
Plain yogurt is good for the gut because not only does it contain probiotics, but it also improves bone health8 and can have positive benefits for people with high blood pressure.9 Yogurt can also help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.10, 11
But not every yogurt contains probiotics - it is possible that living bacteria were killed during processing. Yogurt isn't yogurt. It's best to eat natural yoghurt, as many typical products with different flavors, such as strawberries, blueberries, etc., contain a lot of added sugar. That's why you prefer to add fresh berries to your yogurt yourself.
Kefir is made by adding kefir grains to cow's milk or goat's milk and is therefore a fermented probiotic drink. The kefir grains are cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast.
It is said to improve bone health, help with digestive problems2 and protect against infections.12 Kefir is a diverse and powerful probiotic because it contains several major strains of bacteria. If you are lactose intolerant, kefir is a good source for you as it is generally well tolerated.13
Sauerkraut is also probiotic and also rich in fiber, sodium, iron and vitamins C, B and K.14 Another health benefit are those important for eye health Antioxidants Lutein and zeaxanthin.15 With sauerkraut, you should make sure that it is not pasteurized, as the process kills the living bacteria.
The probiotics also include tempeh, which is a fermented soybean product and originally comes from Indonesia. It forms a firm pie and the taste can be described as nutty, earthy, and mushroom-like. Tempeh is rich in protein and can be used as a meat substitute.
Soybeans usually contain a lot of the plant compound phytic acid, which affects the absorption of iron and zinc, for example. However, through fermentation, tempeh has the advantage that the amount of phytic acid is reduced and the amount of minerals your body absorbs can increase.16, 17 Another benefit of fermentation is that it also produces something that isn't in soybeans.18
Kimchi is a fermented and spicy side dish from Korea. The main ingredient in this dish is cabbage, but it can also be made from other vegetables. The whole thing is then seasoned with, for example, red chilli flakes, spring onions, ginger, garlic and salt.
Kimchi is probiotic because it contains some lactic acid bacteria that can help your digestive health.19 If you cook kimchi from cabbage, it also contains many vitamins such as vitamin K and a number of the B vitamins Vitamin B12 and minerals such as iron and Magnesium.20
Kom- bu - what ??? Tea lovers should be familiar with the kombucha, which is known in Asia, because it is a popular drink made from black or green tea, which is fermented by bacteria and yeast and therefore probably has health benefits in terms of its probiotic properties. However, the effects of the tea have not been scientifically researched. The studies available are merely the results of animal and test tube studies that do not have to apply to humans.21
You might recognize cucumbers after the more exotic probiotics. But cucumber as a probiotic - really? Yes, but with one exception! Cucumbers are probiotic if they have been soaked in salt and water. Because they are fermented for some time, they use their own naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria in the process, which is why they become acidic. Pickles fall out of this pattern because they don't contain live probiotics.
Pickled cucumbers, on the other hand, are a great source of healthy and probiotic bacteria that can improve your digestion. They also contain few calories and the important nutrient vitamin K, which is responsible for blood clotting, among other things.
Which foods contain prebiotics?
If you want to add more prebiotics to your diet, you can find them in many foods, as many foods contain prebiotics naturally because these types of fiber are found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes, for example. The types of fiber are not digestible for humans - the intestinal bacteria provide a remedy that can digest them.
Your intestinal bacteria convert the prebiotic fiber into the short-chain fatty acid Butyrate to the anti-inflammatory effects in the colon hat.22 It can also affect gene expression, block the growth of cancer cells, and help supply healthy cells with fuel so they can grow and divide normally.
These foods are rich in prebiotic fiber:
- Legumes, such as beans and peas
- Dandelion green
A balance of gut bacteria is important for many areas of health. For this reason, it is advisable that you do plenty Add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet that help your body maintain the balance between good and bad gut bacteria. Probiotics and prebiotics differ in that probiotics are beneficial bacteria, and prebiotics, in turn, are the food for these bacteria. A healthy intestinal flora not only gives you a good gut feeling, but also supports the maintenance and promotion of a strong digestive system. If you suffer from chronic illnesses or are seriously ill, you should speak to your doctor beforehand if you want to include more probiotics in your diet.
¹Calcium contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes. ²Zinc contributes to the normal function of the immune system.