Health Benefits of Pre- and Probiotics and How to Include Them in Your Wellness Routine

Health Benefits of Pre- and Probiotics and How to Include Them in Your Wellness Routine
Health Benefits of Pre- and Probiotics and How to Include Them in Your Wellness Routine
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When it comes to being healthy and maintaining a wellness-oriented lifestyle, focusing on your gut health needs to be a priority. In many cases, when used appropriately, pre- and probiotics have emerged as great supplements to help you maintain a healthy gut, resulting in a sound digestive system and good mental health.

The main benefit of having healthy bacteria, found in both pre- and probiotics, is both improved digestive function and happier moods. Let’s explore the health benefits of probiotics and prebiotics, best practices related to their dosage, and how you can seamlessly integrate them into your daily wellness routine.

Understanding the Benefits of Probiotics and Prebiotics

Before we get into how to incorporate the intake of pre- and probiotics in your daily routine, or why to do so, it’s important to understand what exactly they are.

Your gut health is largely influenced by an entire “ecosystem” of different bacteria and yeasts. These living organisms that allow your digestive system to function properly. For example, some bacteria in your system synthesize vitamins, like vitamin K. Some supplements also contain these bacteria and yeasts, found naturally in whole foods, as well as added to processed foods for nutritional value. These

Prebiotics are plant fibers that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. Bananas, apples, berries, green vegetables, leeks, and oats are some common foods rich in prebiotics. They are also found in whole grains, garlic, soybeans, and onions.

The healthy or “good” bacteria and yeast naturally found in your gut are commonly called probiotics. One of the best external sources of probiotics is yogurt which contains the probiotic lactobacillus. These microbial flora work in the body to reduce risks of cardiovascular disease and lactose intolerance, prevent and treat some cancers, regulate immunity, and improve gastrointestinal diseases.

Other types of probiotics, like bifidobacterium and saccharomyces boulardii, have been shown to help to deter common health conditions such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive problems.

Probiotics are found, in addition to yogurts, in some pickled vegetables and in some cheeses. Some great sources include kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and sourdough bread.

What are the Benefits of Probiotics and Prebiotics for Your Body?

The scientific world continues to research these microorganisms to better understand the impact and full relationship they have in our guts each day. Our digestive systems are a complex balance of microflora working together to create a healthy gut. While the relationship of pre- and probiotics and the human body is not yet completely understood, we do know they have a role within a healthy system.

Additionally, pre- and probiotics (both natural and supplemented) have few side effects. Adults can safely add these bacteria into the system without few negative impacts or adverse events. No supplement comes with zero risk. To read more on the pros and cons of these microflora microbials here.

Side Effects of Pre- and Probiotics

Using probiotics excessively can lead to an accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine that can cause brain fogginess, bloating and abdominal pain, according to a study published in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology. Unfortunately, science has still not determined the “right” amount to an accurate recommended dose.

Probiotics can also quickly ferment sugars that pass through the gut, which can cause a buildup in hydrogen gas and methane, creating significant bloating and gas, as well as D-lactic acid, which can interfere with normal cognition, a symptom referred to as “brain fogginess.”

Your doctor can help you determine what the “right amount” of these microorganisms is right for your unique body. When you opt to make any major lifestyle change, including alterations in diet or adding a new supplement, you should discuss the impacts with your doctor beforehand.

Incorporating Pre- and Probiotics Into Your Diet

The optimal dose for these supplements varies based on various factors such as age, gut health, weight, and other personal qualities. But, in addition to whole foods, probiotics are commonly sold as supplements having strains between 1 to 30 billion CFU (colony-forming units) per serving. CFU is a measurable amount of live microbes in a product. No precise amount of dosage has been determined to be “safe” nor the “right” amount.

The easiest way to incorporate pre- and probiotics in your wellness routine is to start eating more foods that are rich in them. For instance, you can start by eating a cup of yogurt a day with breakfast or dinner. Alternatively, yogurt is commonly used to create tasty dips, which you can include as part of your daily meals, such as an accompaniment to carrot or celery sticks.

Similarly, start making conscious choices regarding the food items you buy and consume. Instead of purchasing pre-cooked or packaged snacks, which often have many calories and little nutritional value such as fiber or probiotics, consider switching to fresh fruits and whole foods, such as bananas and green vegetables. Swapping refined flour for whole wheat and whole-grain products is a great option, as well.

Supplements Are Unregulated

It is important to note that supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Oftentimes, the ingredients included in supplements can be illegal or misrepresented. Be sure to select only supplements that have been reviewed by a reputable source for having quality content as outlined on the label.

You also should review any new supplement or dietary changes with your doctor before starting on a new plan or regime for your health to ensure you actually get benefits of probiotics. Even over-the-counter supplements and vitamins can interact with your medications, health conditions, and wellbeing. Ask your healthcare provider before trying a new supplement, including pre- and probiotics.

Staying Hydrated During the Day

Adding prebiotics or probiotics to your diet can be a great step toward a healthy gut. Incorporating natural, whole foods (think of foods that naturally grow in the condition in which you eat it like fruits or vegetables) in general can help with many conditions. Healthy eating, however, does not stand alone. Staying hydrated also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy gut and maximizing the benefits of probiotics. Not only does consuming ample water help to smooth the digestive process, but it also promotes nutrient absorption and waste elimination.

Not drinking ample water, or consuming diuretics like caffeine and alcohol in large quantities, can have negative impacts on your gut health. Caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics, which contributes to dehydration.

Hence, it’s important to keep your caffeine intake in-check and aim to consume at least three to four liters of fluid daily. This means not only the water you drink, but other beverages and foods.

You can also consider switching to decaf products every once in a while to moderate your daily intake. Additionally, here is a great resource to learn more about how hydration can affect your gut biome.

Keep Track of Your Health Choices

One of the best ways to remain consistent with healthy wellness choices is to keep track of your nutritional pre- and probiotic intake. Food labels on products are a great resource to understand whether they are a good choice for maintaining a healthy gut. Those that include probiotics will be labeled with the phrase “Contains Live and Active Cultures.”

Additionally, tracking your eating habits (as well as medications, symptoms, and habits) with a useful tool can go a long way at making your task easier. “MedShadow” offers a free, online tracker here to help you in your quest. Recording how you feel each day, on the medications you’ve taken, the exercise you’ve done, food you’ve eaten, stress you’ve managed, and sleep you were able to get will help you better understand your overall personal well-being.

You can also use trackers like these to help you keep track of nutritional and general health information. The information on these trackers can then be used to create a personalized nutrition plan and track your daily intake of food and water, resulting in optimum gut health and hydration.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy gut, pre- and probiotics and plenty of water, can be key resources in wellness. Not only will these habits reduce the risk of digestive problems and gastrointestinal diseases, but it’ll also promote happier moods and a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, using a tracking process makes it easy to understand and record what you eat, resulting in informed food choices and optimum nutritional intake.

DISCLAIMER: MedShadow provides information and resources related to medications, their effects, and potential side effects. However, it is important to note that we are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on our site is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Individuals dealing with medical conditions or symptoms should seek guidance from a licensed healthcare professional, such as a physician or pharmacist, who can provide personalized medical advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on MedShadow, we cannot guarantee its completeness or suitability for any particular individual's medical needs. Therefore, we strongly encourage users to consult with qualified healthcare professionals regarding any health-related concerns or decisions. By accessing and using MedShadow, you acknowledge and agree that the information provided on the site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and that you should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns.

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