Friendly Bacteria for your Health
Probiotics are live micro-organisms (especially bacteria) similar to the trillions of beneficial microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract of your body. These friendly bacteria help with digestion, keep bowel motion regular, facilitate better absorption of vitamins and minerals, improve energy levels, and are found associated with lower risk of diabetes, obesity and colon cancer. They also provide protection from harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Ecoli and improve your immunity against various infections and allergies.
A regular supply of probiotics will help in keeping up the count of these good bacteria. However, it’s not easy to get readymade probiotics. First it’s difficult to select proper strains of bacteria that match exactly with your intestinal flora. Further, these live bacteria are very sensitive and can be destroyed during handling, processing and storage.
However, by taking a regular dose of “prebiotics” you can facilitate good bacteria in your intestinal flora. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates or soluble fibres that act as food for probiotics and don’t get affected by heat, cold, acid or time. The most common are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), inulin and galacto-oligosaccharides found in whole grains (i.e. wheat, oats); legumes (i.e. soyabean); honey; vegetables (i.e. onion, garlic, tomatoes); and fruits (i.e. banana). Prebiotics help create ‘normobiosis’ in your gut ‘ecosystem,’ where micro-organisms with health benefits get nourishment and predominate over harmful ones. Besides changing the composition, prebiotics also influence activity of the gastrointestinal microflora to offer health benefits.