Gut Bacteria or the Microbiome
A remarkable finding of modern science is the fact that the lower bowel or colon is really a health organ. We have known for a long time that a huge number of bacteria live there, actually ten times the number of the total cells in the human body. The remarkable new findings indicate that this bacteria factory has many health benefits. But only if the mix of bacteria is favorable, meaning many more good bacteria than bad ones.
The Microbiome and Obesity
A startling recent discovery has been that most overweight people have a bad mix of colon bacteria. This bad mix technically is called dysbiosis. What causes this type of bad bacterial mix to occur? Usually the lack of plant based fiber in your diet otherwise known as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds that help probiotics grow and thrive, so they can continue to keep your gut healthy.
The Bad Effects of Dysbiosis in Obesity
It is normal to make some calories in the colon. However, when bad bacteria, again called dysbiosis, are present, you make about twice the number of calories in the colon. That’s right! You get some calories from the food you eat, but you also make additional calories in the colon. You make many more when you are overweight and have dysbiosis in the colon.
When you have bad bacteria and dysbiosis in the colon, the colon wall itself weakens and allows toxins, unwanted chemicals and even bacteria parts to seep into the blood stream, reach your liver and eventually your general circulation. Toxins are bad for everyone, especially for the overweight individual. They lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body and contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. They contribute to obesity.
Dysbiosis is clearly related to increased insulin resistance and difficulty in blood sugar control. Medical trials have shown that correcting dysbosis with prebiotics makes type 2 diabetes easier to control.
Colon and breast cancer are associated with obesity and dysbiosis. There is much research being done to unravel the cause and effect. Your risk will increase for certain types of cancers if you suffer from dysbiosis.
Many people are walking around unknowingly with dysbiosis. The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is very bright. The solution is simple and can be found in your grocery store, farmers market or supplement shop. The solution is a combination of prebiotics and probiotics. This essential mix should be taken by everyone, regardless of age or weight issues.
Prebiotics are not probiotics. A probiotic is a live bacteria that you take by mouth as in yogurt or a pill, in the hope that it will make a beneficial change in the digestive track. A prebiotic, on the other hand, is a non-digestible plant fiber that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. Simply put, these fibers are the fuel that drive the very best bacteria already in the colon to vigorously multiply. We know these good bacteria can and do grow and divide every 20 minutes if there is enough nourishment around. Keeping a rich supply of the best prebiotics in the colon is simply the healthiest thing you can do in order to prevent dysbiosis.
How to Get Prebiotics
Prebiotics are a type of fiber. They are un-digestible plant fibers that already live inside the large intestine. The more food, or prebiotics, that probiotics have to eat, the more efficiently these live bacteria work and the healthier your gut will be.
You’re probably already ingesting prebiotics and may not even know it. Prebiotics naturally exist in many foods you may already consume on a regular basis. Since fiber is the source for prebiotics, foods that are high in fiber are also typically high in prebiotics.
Here’s a quick list of prebiotic foods you can begin incorporating into your diet:
- Jerusalem artichoke, and chicory root all contain inulin, a form of prebiotic fiber.
- Dandelion greens are leafy green vegetables that are made up of 25% prebiotic fiber.
- Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, leeks, chives, and scallions are great choices. Add them to food raw for the best source of prebiotics.
- Whole-grain and sprouted-grain breads
- Wheat germ, whole wheat berries
- Potato skins
- Apple cider vinegar “with the mother” (organic)
Higher intakes of prebiotics are linked to these benefits:
- Lower risk for cardiovascular disease
- Healthier cholesterol levels
- Better gut health
- Improved digestion
- Lower stress response
- Better hormonal balance
- Higher immune function
- Lower risk for obesity and weight gain
- Lower inflammation and autoimmune reactions
Prebiotics Equals a Happy Gut
Prebiotics are an invaluable part of a healthy diet — and a happy gut. If you want to ensure you’re getting the right amount of prebiotics, taking a 100 percent all-natural and full-spectrum supplement is highly advisable. While there are several different types of prebiotic supplements on the market, only those that are 100 percent all-natural and full-spectrum can guarantee you are taking the proper amount of pure and natural prebiotics.
It is recommended that you intake at least 5 grams of prebiotic fiber daily.
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