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Eating Prebiotics is Essential for Health and Wellbeing

Monday, August 24, 2009 by: Alex Howard
Tags: prebiotics, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Awareness of the link between diet and health has led to an increase in foods that promote wellbeing. Prebiotics are components present in food which give health by supporting the gastrointestinal tract (GI), and by giving the body what it needs to defend itself and promote health and wellbeing.

Prebiotics are a type of fiber which can help protect the body against food poisoning and intestinal and colon problems. Most importantly, pre-biotics are food for our "good" gut bacteria. As a result they promote the growth of these healthy bacteria and help inhibit overgrowth of pathogenic ones.

Typically, prebiotics are carbohydrates, but the definition does not preclude non-carbohydrates. The most prevalent forms of prebiotics are nutritionally classed as soluble fiber. To some extent, many forms of dietary fiber exhibit some level of prebiotic effect.

A prebiotic should increase the number of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, and can also make them more powerful and active. The importance of the bifidobacteria and the lactic acid bacteria is that they benefit people by improving digestion, increasing absorption and boosting immune system.

Prebiotics are found naturally in many foods, and can also be isolated from plants. In order for a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic, it has to be demonstrated that it is not broken down in the stomach or absorbed in the GI tract. It also needs to be fermented by the gastrointestinal microflora and to stimulate the growth and activity of intestinal bacteria associated with health and wellbeing.

This pre-biotic fiber is found primarily in certain vegetables listed below:
*Chicory root
*Jerusalem artichoke

You may benefit from eating pre-biotics if you:
*Have a blood sugar imbalance- pre-biotics encourage bifido bacteria to grow which produce acids which help balance blood sugar levels
*Are prone to stomach upsets or gut dysbiosis
*Are traveling to areas where gastro-intestinal illness is common
*Suffer from gastroenteritis, Chrohn`s disease or ulcerative colitis
*Are taking anti-biotics
*Are prone to thrush or bacterial vaginosis

Make sure your vegetables are as fresh as possible as long storage time lowers their nutrient and pre-biotic content.

Onion soup is one of the best ways to obtain a large dose of pre-biotics and it is one of the highest natural sources of vitamin C

Some people may get excessive flatulence when eating these foods. Simply start on a very low dosage per day and build up gently. Eventually, the good bacteria will build up in the gut and the flatulence will cease.

Anyone with arthritis or other auto-immune conditions should use pre-biotics with caution.


About the author

Alex Howard is author of "WHY ME? My Journey from M.E. to Health and Happiness" and founder of The Optimum Health Clinic, an award winning clinic specialising in M.E./C.F.S./Fibromyalgia based in Harley Street Clinic, London, UK. The clinic has treated over 5,000 patients with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia in over twenty-five countries around the world, and is currently running a two year clinical trial in conjunction with two top universities. A free information pack, including a 75 documentary about the clinic and its work, can be ordered from www.FreedomFromME.co.uk

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