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probiotics, prebiotics and antibiotics

onionsThe balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is of vital importance when it comes to optimal health. If and when bad bacteria overcrowds the good ones you could run the risk of bowel problems.

I recently had a client who suffered with constant bloating and it couldn’t be pinpointed by anything specific in her diet. I did suspect dysbiosis due to the fact that she had food poisoning in Zanzibar and that is when the bloating started. A stool analysis confirmed that she had no parasites or other nasties, but that she had no growth of the essential lactobacillus bacteria species.

Long term use of antibiotics (which destroys not only bad but also good bacteria) the pill, alcohol and drug abuse, stress and even a trip to an exotic country can affect the delicate balance of friendly bacteria in the gut.

Certain types of vegetables act as a fermentable source of food which helps to promote the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria.

The extracts inulin and oligofructose from these foods are called pre-biotics because they travel through the digestive system intact and when they enter the large intestine they are converted to probiotics where they start doing their work.

They also act as a food source for friendly bacteria which already exists in your bowel therefore extending their life and activity.

Which foods act as pre-biotics? Onions, leeks, garlic, artichoke and chicory do, and eating sauerkraut and live probiotic yoghurt is a sure way of obtaining good sources of good bacteria in the gut.

Remember to include fibre, water and plenty of these prebiotic forming vegetables into your daily diet for optimal bowel health, and most importantly…..chew, chew, chew!

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