How Prebiotics Keep You Healthy and Help in Weight Loss

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Did you ever think that what you eat doesn’t just feed you… it also feeds your friendly health-promoting probiotics in your gut?

Food for our probiotics is called… you guessed it: “prebiotics.”

“Pre” biotics?

Yes! They’re the food that we feed our probiotics, the friendly gut microbes that are oh so important for good health.

Our gut microbes are alive, and they need to eat too. Their favorite foods are called “prebiotics” and include dietary fiber and resistant starch. The same fiber that keeps us feeling full slows down digestion and provides roughage that keeps us regular. Resistant starch helps promote healthy blood lipids. Both types of prebiotics (fiber and resistant starch) are linked with many health benefits.

Technically-speaking, a prebiotic has three qualities:
It needs to be undigested and reach the colon intact;
It needs to be digested by our gut microbes; and,
It needs to stimulate our health-promoting good gut microbes.

Now that we know what prebiotics are let’s dive into their health benefits.

Health benefits of prebiotics

Prebiotic fiber helps keep us regular by bulking up our poop. It gives it substance and form, so it’s not too runny or liquid. In fact, more fiber is often recommended to help with symptoms of diarrhea. The prebiotic fiber used to be thought of like a broom that sweeps food through our guts, but we’re learning more about its health benefits beyond this role.

For example, prebiotics can also help to maintain normal bowel structure and function, and even enhance blood flow to the cells of the colon.

Those are some of the health benefits of prebiotics themselves. But we get even more health benefits when our friendly gut microbes eat and digest them.

For one thing, our gut microbes use prebiotics to make short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs (e.g., butyrate) can feed the cells of our colon to keep them healthy. SCFAs also inhibit the growth of bad gut microbes, and can even increase mineral (e.g., calcium and magnesium) absorption. These effects are all linked to the slight acidity caused by the acids in those SCFAs.

Dietary fiber also binds to healthful phytonutrients (phyto = plant). These phytonutrients are lost when the fiber is removed from the food. But, when we eat the prebiotic fiber, our gut microbes release these phytonutrients so we can absorb and use them.

Where to get prebiotics

Dietary fiber and resistant starch are the main sources of prebiotics.

Prebiotic fiber is found mostly in plants; both fruits and vegetables.

Resistant starch is any starch (a type of carbohydrate) that goes through most of our digestive tract without being digested. It’s not broken down by our digestive enzymes because it’s “resistant”… until it gets to our gut microbes in the colon. Resistant starch is found in starchy foods like whole grains and potatoes.

One of the big differences between fiber and resistant starch is that all of the fiber we eat is undigestible. All of it reaches our colons. Resistant starch, on the other hand, is just a small percent of the starch we eat. Most starch is digested and absorbed along our digestive tract, and that part is not considered to be prebiotic. Only the small amount of starch that is resistant to digestion and makes it down to the colon to feed our probiotics is prebiotic.

Prebiotic fiber is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables. It’s essentially what’s removed when we make juice – the pulp. It’s one of the reasons why eating whole fruits and vegetables is more healthful than replacing them with juice.

Here are some great sources of dietary fibre:
Onions
Asparagus
Bananas
Berries
Pears

Resistant starch is found in:
Whole grains (e.g. oats)
Potatoes
Cornmeal
Seeds
Legumes
Green bananas

Starches can be made resistant by cooking and cooling these foods before eating them. The cooling process allows the starches to re-shape themselves into a structure that is harder to digest (i.e., more resistant).

Conclusion

Prebiotics are fiber and resistant starches that feed our gut microbes. And when we feed our gut microbes, they help keep our gut healthy and have other health benefits too.

Do you ever juice your amazingly healthy fruits and vegetables and have a ton of leftover pulp? What do you do with it? I have a great recipe for using that oh so healthy prebiotic fiber in a delicious way.

Love and Health

Uma

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How Prebiotics Keep You Healthy and Help in Weight Loss

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Your first step if you have any concerns should be to get your child checked out by a pediatrician. But what other stress cures are there to keep your nutrition (and waistline) on the right track? The first key to a weight loss plan is what to eat?

Healthy diet is emphasized a lot nowadays as it really reduces the risk of many diseases and it cures many of them, the biggest of which is obesity. Obesity is actually a very big cause of diseases that can be very fatal.

You should avoid fad diets since they usually are lacking in balanced nutrition. Fad diets that take things to extreme limits to lose weight, and limit your food, could be hazardous to your health. Fad diets come quickly, stick around for a little while and seem to feed quickly. These diets do not last very long because even if they are effective for losing weight quickly, they are not beneficial to long-term health.

If you are struggling with weight loss and the best weight loss and exercise plans are unable to give you the results that you and your doctor are looking for, perhaps the answer to healthy weight loss isn’t so much what you put in your mouth, but rather how well you sleep? Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea may contribute not only to weight gain but also create tremendous difficulty in weight loss. Studies have shown that getting only 5-6 hours of sleep or more than 9 hours of sleep will put you at risk to gain weight. If you are getting less than 5 hours a night you are nearly twice as likely to become fat. Dealing with obesity is a national problem with many sufferers also struggling with other serious health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Sugar intake is at the forefront of any watch list for a healthy diet. Many see fruit juice as a healthy improvement over soda. But this is not necessarily the case. This isn’t the case because some of these juices will contain more sugar than a regular serving of soda. As you can see, being aware of what you are eating and drinking can make a big difference in your overall health.

Dinner – If you think you don’t have time to cook a healthy, delicious dinner, think again. Gather all the ingredients to make a healthy stew the night before, and toss them into a slow cooker before heading off to work. By the time you get home, you’ll have a healthy, delicious dinner waiting to be eaten.

You can add another day if possible (I don’t recommend more than 4 days per week if you’re also weight training), or add time to each day (I like to add 10 minutes to each session and see how my body responds).

You must ramp up your exercise so that your body is physiologically capable of losing weight and counteracting weight gain. When you do this, you maximize your weight loss and your ability to keep your weight off permanently.

OAlways have healthy snacks close by to fend off sudden hunger attacks. Taking prenatal vitamins can maintain proper amounts of nutrition during pregnancy. It also gives you further motivation to maintain the size you currently are.

Pregnancy, Home and FamilyHow Prebiotics Keep You Healthy and Help in Weight Loss.

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