Love those beneficial belly bugs!

PrebioticsGreat advances have been made in understanding the important role of gut bacteria, probiotics and prebiotics in human health and disease prevention.

A team of North American and European researchers have made several presentations discussing the current scientific evidence accumulated in this area between 2000 and 2010.

The organizations involved were the American Gastroenterological Association, International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics and the North American branch of the International Life Sciences Institute.

The human gastrointestinal tract contains over 1,000 different types of bacteria which can greatly improve health by stimulating the immune system, improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and inhibiting the growth of pathogens.

On the other hand, harmful, pathogenic bacteria can cause intestinal infections, diarrhea, constipation and production and retaining of toxins and carcinogens.

Probiotics and prebiotics improve intestinal and thus general health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit the body by battling (and hopefully overcoming) bad bacteria. They are found in a variety of foods such as good yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir as well as quality dietary supplements, and include strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates such as inulin and fructooligosaccharides which selectively promote the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The researchers found that, from a therapeutic point of view, probiotics and prebiotics have been found to aid in the treatment of numerous gastrointestinal disorders, and are also useful in the prevention of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Makes sense to me. What goes in must go out. Those good bugs help extract and absorb the nutrition the body needs, then hurries the waste on its way so it doesn’t remain in the body to add weight and toxins.

We don’t want waste rotting in our kitchens. And neither does the body want it rotting in the belly—which is a prime reason most of us need more of those beneficial bugs.

Research on probiotics and prebiotics is ongoing, but one thing is clear, the researchers concluded—gut bacteria play a vitally important role in human health and well-being.

Hint: The fast and processed food so beloved by Americans and many others is not beloved by the beneficial gut bacteria wearing themselves out trying to protect us from our own consumption stupidity.

Source: European Food Information Council (www.eufic.org).

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